Category Archives: Tech

Ingenious ETOS Drawing Board Will Redefine How Designers Work

Those who rely on cooperation between their brains and their technology, i.e., architects, designers, artists, will find this new toy deliciously intriguing. ETOS, acronym for Electronical Tool for Object Sketching, “combines a digital drawing board with a novel tool of interaction.” Using a variety of pens on its integrated screen, the user can create 3D digital images, easily edited along both vertical and horizontal axes. ETOS designer Daniel Kussmaul is a clever guy, responsible for the design of the BooX Bookscanner—an inventive scanner whose triangular profile means book spines are saved from the pressure of lying flat—to theBarCode Jukebox, for which he was nominated for the 2008 “Lights of the Future” award.

Synaptics ForcePad: The Laptop Trackpad Is About to Change Forever

The last big things to happen to trackpads were the addition of multitouch gestures and elimination of a dedicated button. The next big thing is going to be force detection. We’ve seen force detection pop up a couple of times before—most recently in the keyboard cover for theMicrosoft Surface—but with the introduction of the Synaptics ForcePad, that technology is about to go much more mainstream.

The introduction of the ForcePad is more radical than you think; gone is the mouse click you’ve come to love over the past three decades. In its place comes the pressure tracking, which can detect five fingers at once, sensing up to 1000 grams of force with 64 levels of differentiation. It also supports five new gestures and actions which take advantage of the new technology (keep in mind that third-party developers are only just starting to play with the ForcePad as we speak). And given that Synaptics has worked with Microsoft to develop a sent of specifications and guidelines for the OEM design of trackpads, the ForcePad is fully optimized for the new operating system and all its touch-friendly perks.

So what are the benefits of the ForcePad? The biggest benefit, Synaptics says, is that it will make your PC trackpad feel more accurate and responsive. The difference in trackpad size and manufacturing techniques from PC makers has made the experience vary wildly from laptop to laptop. No two trackpads ever feel alike. With the ForcePad, there’s an added dimension of touch sensing, and Synaptics says this tech will allow the trackpad to constantly auto-calibrate itself on the fly, always ensuring optimal, and consistent, peformance no matter what laptop you’re using.

Secondly, because there’s no click mechanism in the pad, the ForcePad takes up less space in your laptop, which could allow for thinner PCs (and possibly less things to break). At only 2.8 millimeters thick, Synaptics likes to tout that the pad is thinner than your average slice of cheese.

And finally, it means all sorts of fun new gestures. Instead of constantly swiping and scrolling, you can just push down at the end of a gesture to make the action continue. One example Synaptics gave me was for movie playback. Say you wanted to fast-forward. Instead of clicking 3-5 times to get to 8x or 32x playback, you could just tap the fast-forward button and hold it down. The harder you press down, the faster it skips forward. When you let go, it plays back at normal speed. Or imagine rocking your fingers left and right to move through th Windows 8 home screen. Subtle, but an awesome idea nonetheless.

And of course, there’s gaming.

But trackpads aren’t the only area Synaptics are out to change forever. Synaptics is also working on a new keyboard called the ThinTouch. Not only does the downward movement of they require less height (2.5 millimeters vs. 3-6 millimeters), but the entire surface of the keyboard has been equipped with a capacitive touch sensor. Yes that means thinner laptops (or more room for other components). Yes that means more accurate keystrokes. But it also opens up the possibilitiy for advanced gestures, where you could brush the keys with your fingers to activate certain gestures.

But just because there’s less downward motion doesn’t necessarily mean the keys will be mushy. Synaptics designed the ThinTouch keys to have a slight sideways motion to them, which apparently makes the keyboard feedback feel deeper than it actually is. Synaptics conducted blind testing of the product against other popular laptop keyboards and claim that subjects found the feedback of the ThinTouch to be as satisfying, if not more satisfying than Apple’s keyboard in many cases.

But the introduction of these technologies means little if they never end up in a product. That’s why it’s worth mentioning that Synaptics has an overwhelming command of the PC trackpad market—upwards of 70 percent—which will certainly help their case as they move into keyboards as well. Chances are the trackpad you’re using now is utilizing Synaptics technology. So not only will the ForcePad appear in PC laptops in the years to come, it will likely appear in the majority of PC laptops. Force detection is the future, and its a future you’re going to experience sooner rather than later.

Rumor: The 7-inch iPad Mini Will Have a Super Thin Bezel and Look More Like an iPhone Than an iPad

9to5Mac and Daring Fireball are both connecting the dots in the Apple rumor trail and reporting that the rumored 7.85-inch iPad mini would look more like a bigger iPhone than it would a smaller iPad. Which means, instead of having a uniformly thick bezel around the edge of the display, it would have a much thinner bezel on the left and right side.

9to5Mac mocked up the image you see above and it illustrates the difference between a thin bezeled iPad mini and what many have long assumed the iPad mini would look like (a shrunken down version of the iPad). John Gruber, who is very well connected at Apple, is saying the same thing: though the aspect ratio of the display on this forthcoming iPad mini will be the same as the current iPad (4:3), the whole device may not be housed in similar proportions—and that change in device size would result in shaving the bezel on the sides of the device.

But how will the device be held? An iPad needs a thick bezel because it needs to be held with two hands and the thumbs need to rest on the front of the iPad (and not trigger touch actions). An iPhone can comfortably be held with one hand without the thumbs resting on its face—thus the smaller side bezel. The iPad Mini, according to these reports, would be somewhere in between the two but probably closer to the iPhone. Gruber surmises that the iPad Mini—because of its lack of a Retina Display and thus lack of a fatty battery—can be super thin and super light, which would make it easier to hold in one hand. The Nexus 7 would theoretically be a better size comparison for the iPad Mini and that form factor is much easier to hold with one hand.

So does that mean a Nexus 7-shaped device with a 7.85-inch 4:3 display for the iPad Mini? That’s what 9to5Mac and Gruber are saying and there seems to be just enough smoke at this point from well connected sources that a thin bezeled tablet doesn’t sound as crazy. To add more fuel to this design rumor, a previously rumored leaked iPad Mini prototype matches the narrower tablet form factor too:

Super Angry Birds – a Tangible Controller

Super Angry Birds is a force feedback USB controller for Angry Birds that simulates the feeling of a slingshot. All the controls found in the game are available in this device. You can control the pull, the angle, and of course trigger the special power of the bird. We hacked a motorized fader found in audio mixing consoles to simulate the force you would feel when using a slingshot.

We programmed in Max/MSP and Arduino. For controlling the hardware, we used an Arduino-based microcontroller called Music & Motors developed by CIID.

This was part of the class on Haptics at CIID run by Bill Verplank and David Gauthier.

Project by:
Hideaki Matsui –
Andrew Spitz –

For more info, please visit

Turn Your Television into a Giant Tablet with Pocket TV

The Pocket TV is a small pocket-sized device which connects to the HDMI port on a regular TV enabling it to become a Smart TV. Pocket TV is a micro-computer the size of a USB stick which runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) just like a smartphone. Plug this bad boy into your television and you will be able to run Android and all the associated goodies on your new massive “tablet”. Goodies such as any apps from the Google Play Store, streaming videos, playing video games, chilling on Facebook, browsing the latest news articles, surf the net or even maybe get some work done. The best part about the Pocket TV is the fact that you can take it where ever you go, easily accessing all of your stuff on the big screen!

Technical Specifications

Kick starter link:

175-Degree Display Fills Your Entire Vision With Gaming Goodness

The makers of this utterly fantastic 160-inch behemoth of a wraparound display—a Swedish company called Norman Design—claim the entire rig is actually portable. But since it takes at least an hour to set up, and weighs over 110 pounds, we’d be content with just leaving this permanently assembled in our gaming rooms.

To fill that 160-inches of screen real estate the display uses a series of rear-mounted projectors seamlessly blended together, powered by a sufficiently capable gaming PC running special software.

The results, of course, are stunning. Completely wrapping you in the on-screen action. But there’s a catch, and you can probably easily guess what it is. The screen actually comes as part of an F1 racing simulator kit, complete with a motion-capable seat, that sells for over $114,000. Ouch. The screen can be purchased separately, however, we’re going to assume it will still set you back as much as a reasonably priced car.

160″ (4m x 0,7m) screen solution is portable and only weighs about 50 kg. Takes about 1 hour to assemble. PC with special software is required for reproducing the image from the seamless multi projectorer which is mounted behind. Depth is only 60cm. Resolution approx:9.0 million pixels.

This is only a test run after setting the seamless image reproduction.

Curved big screen solution ideal for digital shooting, you save the set to gunpowder, is also available 3D ready. Then you can adjust 3D depth as you experience the depth 5-20m. Cruel reality faithfully.

Sterecopisca Nvidia 3D glasses required and PCs that have the right hardware.

Screen built by us (AB NDesign Sweden)

It is good for professional simulators, etc. We can also manufacture screen solutions to customer requirements if it is carrying out offense.

Upgrade from week 34, now we can deliver this image solution with 3 projector with Native WUXGA 1920×1200 resolution with 3×8 000 ansilumen projector. The screen resolution of approximately 20 million pixels.

We are also looking for distributors/partners worldwide.

Onyx Ashanti’s beatjazz music machine does everything

Onyx Ashanti has sent us over a demo of his beatjazz controller, and we have to marvel at the direction he’s taken with this custom electronic music machine following more modest efforts. Onyx’s 3D-printedinterface receives inputs from a voice / breath-operated synth in the headgear, while the two handheld controls incorporate accelerometers, joysticks and pressure-sensitive buttons. Using this kit and his own software, Onyx is able to create live digital music with an amount of control you would only expect from desktop-based production software. We’ve embedded two videos for your attention after the break — a demo of his latest flashy build complete with lightsaber-like effects, and an earlier live performance that really shows what the beatjazz controller can do.


Barcode band

To proceed bARCODE BAND project, we worked together to unfold our ideas and WOONJIN
KANG took charge of sounds and filming, YOUGDUK KIM designed structure of Music
box, HALIM LEE designed instrument graphics on the box.

Light Form – Interactive landscape by Mathieu Rivier (ECAL)

Created by Mathieu Rivier at ECAL University of Art and Design, Light Form is a sculpture that explores different forms of representations and interactions using a solid but uneven display. The faceted landscape is built on a plinth with integrated projector and infra red sensing to display content that is constrained to the form of the display but offers quite unique interactive experience.

In order for the faceted surface to become a display for multi-touch interaction, it was necessary to design a shape in heat-welded semi-transparent plastic which allows the projection and detection of fingers from inside the structure. The skeleton of the installation is made out of welded steel to insure the rigidity of the structure. The entire structure is surrounded by plywood, which hides the inside. To design the form in PVC, many paper models were created to find the best compromise between the complicated aspect of the form and the finger detection quality. Finally the form was hardened with fiberglass and parget to resist thermoforming.

To make the surface interactive, four infrared spots and a revised webcam are installed inside. The program, ccv, detects the overexposed (blob) zones that correspond to pressure points on the form. The information is then sent to another program made in openFrameworks, which calculates the data from the touched points on the form in 3d and then transposed on the flat form. The program generates the graphic on flat surfaces, then sends it to Madmapper which corrects the form and sends it to the projector which is inside the structure. The fact of working with facets, which are flat at first and then distort them for the projection, enables to have an image, which isn’t distorted on each face despite the angle of projection. However, the actual program doesn’t yet, operate every possibility given with this technique.

Software: openFrameworks, MadMapper, CCV
Hardware: video Projector, camera, IR light, custom thermoformed structure

Super-fast motion tracking camera uses rotating mirrors to stay locked on target

Researchers at Tokyo University’s Oku Ishikawa Lab — home of the unbeatable rock, paper, scissors robot — are working on another application of high-speed motion tracking, only this one’s for real sports. A research team headed by Kohei Okumura has put together a motion-tracking camera system with a tiny one-millisecond latency, allowing the camera to stay locked on even fast-moving targets — say, ping pong balls in play (video below).

While motion tracking isn’t new, an ordinary camera would be too heavy to move with millisecond-order precision, so the team decided to go with a fixed camera and two rotating mirrors — one to control pan (the horizontal axis), and the other for tilt (vertical); an array the group calls a “saccade mirror,” in reference to the rapid movement of the human eye. The system could be particularly valuable for capturing sports, letting viewers follow what’s happening onscreen more easily, and virtually guaranteeing close-up shots of important plays.