David Kirkpatrick

July 14, 2010

Cool computer technology — an invisible mouse

Via KurzweilAI.net — um, what’s to say here. This is just amazingly cool. Can’t say the tech is totally there from a user standpoint — one commenter mentioned the lag time would be disconcerting at this stage of technology — but the proof-of-concept is utterly amazing.

An invisible computer mouse

MIT Media Lab researchers have developed Mouseless, an invisible computer mouse that costs about $20 to build.

It uses an infrared (IR) laser beam and an infrared camera. The laser beam module creates a plane of IR laser just above the surface the computer sits on. The user cups their hand, and the laser beam lights up the hand that is in contact with the surface. The IR camera detects those bright IR blobs using computer vision. The change in the position and arrangements of these blobs are interpreted as mouse cursor movement and mouse clicks.

More info: Fluid Interfaces Group | MIT Media Lab

Here’s a video of the no-mouse mouse in action (feel free to ignore the attempt at cleverness with the Tom and Jerry cartoon intro.)

February 23, 2010

Improving artificial skin

This sounds like a real step forward in improving artificial skin, plus anything involving quantum physics is just cool.

From the link:

The UK company Peratech, which last month signed a deal to develop novel pressure-sensing technology for screen maker Nissha, has announced that it will use the same approach to make artificial “skin” for the MIT Media Lab.

Peratech makes an electrically conductive material called quantum tunneling composite (QTC). When the material is compressed electrons jump between two conductors separated by polymer insulating layer covered with metallic nanoparticles. QTC has already been used to make small sensors for NASA’s Robonaut and for a robotic gripper made by Shadow Robot Company.

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