Now you are supposed to make a note. What would you do? Either search for a marker that you keep misplacing everytime or dig a smartphone of your pocket to do that. Sometimes you just want to make notes on your forearm. Just imagine how could it be if the palm of the hand could be used as a keypad, or as a tablet for jotting down notes. Now it is all possible with OmniTouch.
OmniTouch, a wearable projection system developed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft Research, enables users to turn paper, walls or even their own hands, arms and legs into graphical, interactive surfaces.
Perhaps the most convenient aspect of the technology is how it can be operated on the go, requiring no special calibration for each new surface it is used on. The system adapts easily to surfaces of most textures in 3D space, so it works even when the surface is not flat, such as with your hand, or perhaps a tree trunk.
The system employs a depth-sensing camera, similar to the Microsoft Kinect(to track the user’s fingers) instead of the infrared sensor we’ve seen on similar devices, which allows it to gauge the viewing angle and other characteristics of the surfaces being used. It can handle even pinch to zoom.
The system decides the finger is touching the surface if it’s close enough to constitute making contact. This was fairly tricky, and they used a depth map to determine proximity. In practice, a finger is seen as “clicked” when its hover distance drops to one centimeter or less above a surface, and even manage to maintain the clicked state for dragging.
On-Demand User Interface
The device also allows user flexibility far beyond the capability of your Smartphone or Tablet. User can define the area of where they want the interface to be, and have the system to do its best to track it frame to frame. OmniTouch is also itself capable of choosing the best display setting, so the user doesn’t have to readjust with each new surface. This creates a highly flexible, on-demand user interface.
Maps created on a wall could be panned and zoomed with the same finger motions that work with a conventional multi-touch screen.
Thus it is now conceivable that anything one can do on today’s mobile devices, they could do in the palm of their hand . Although the prototype is not as small as we like it to be, there are no significant barriers to miniaturization and that it is entirely possible that a future version of Wearable Multitouch Interaction could be the size of a matchbox and as easy as to wear as a pendant or a watch.
A video demonstrating OmniTouch and additional downloadable media are available at Chris Harrison blog.
Now you have an excuse to touch everything…:p