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3DTouch Works in Three Dimensions and Can Potentially Replace Computer Mouse

3DTouch

Image credit: Anh Nguyen and Amy Banic.

The researchers from University of Wyoming have recently developed a new wearable gadget named as 3DTouch, which would bring the revolution in the novel approach to our interaction with computers.

As a useful tool, the computer mouse has maintained its dominance in the way we have been interacting with computers for nearly past fifty years. However, it has restriction in terms of two-dimensional movements. Being described in arXiv, such new gadget could make it possible for us to interact with computers in three-dimensions.

Interacting in 3D is not a new practice. You may happen to use a mouse which could sense its position in 3D for some time, but generally speaking they present poor resolution. Even though you have experienced the amazing Kinect for Xbox or Nintendo Wii, but unluckily they are not transferrable to computers as expected.

Looking like a thimble sitting on your finger, the novel mobile device is capable of sensing its position in 3D accurately, thus responding to different preprogrammed gestures like a mouse, for instance, a finger tap. In this way, the user is able to interact with objects in 3D. Furthermore it could be applied with almost any computing device thanks to its small size and cheapness.

By combining three different types of sensor—a 3D accelerometer, a 3D magnetometer and a 3D gyroscope, the device could offer a superb estimate of orientation in comparison of using them in isolation. In addition, wearing several gadgets on different fingers would allow users to engage in multi-touch interaction.

At present, the device may not look tidy, because the wires have to be used for connection with the controller. However, the researchers are now considering a wireless solution in the end.

Although the pointing accuracy of the device is reasonably good, more work should be done for further improvement, for example, by application of a more reliable optical sensor, the researchers could shrink positioning errors, which is now a big problem to be tackled.

Whether the device would live up to our expectations is uncertain, but it looks very promising for future application at the moment.

Check out this video for a demonstration:

Source: MIT Technology Review and arVix