Autodesk Australia announces the development of a new device that allows touch interactions to be carried out on any physical surface.
Developed by Autodesk Research, the Magic Finger device is the future of touch interaction that goes way beyond the currently available touch inputs enabled by tablets or mobile devices to making the entire surrounding environment touch sensitive.
The Magic Finger is designed to allow any physical object, including one’s own body to serve as a peripheral input surface for digital devices such as cell phones, MP3 players and gaming systems.
Research scientists Tovi Grossman and George Fitzmaurice at Autodesk Research in collaboration with research intern Xing-Dong Yang from University of Alberta and Professor Daniel Wigdor from University of Toronto have created a proof-of-concept device called Magic Finger, which allows touch interactions to be carried out on any physical surface.
Combining one of the world’s smallest RGB micro cameras with an optical motion sensor, Magic Finger is a thimble-like device worn on the user’s finger. The sensors allow Magic Finger to not only sense finger input, but also determine what it is the user is touching such as a shirt, a table or human skin. Different actions can be performed depending on the object being touched.
The Magic Finger can potentially support a variety of interactions and applications ranging from phone calls on a Smartphone to using it as an input proxy for other wearable devices.
The team performed a controlled evaluation of Magic Finger’s capabilities by collecting 22 different textures from a large variety of everyday objects such as table, clothes, skin, phone, etc. Magic Finger could distinguish the tested objects with an impressive accuracy of 99.1%.
The work will be published at the UIST 2012 ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology.