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Mobile sonar tech moves fingers off the screen

by • March 16, 2016 • No Comments

Choosing your big ol’ fingers to perform tasks on a smartphone’s touch screen can be complex adequate, with the extra
compact screen of a smartwatch presenting actually extra
of a challenge. It was with this in mind which scientists at the University of Washington created FingerIO. The innovation turns mobile devices into sonar processs which are capable-bodied of tracking the user’s finger movements on nearby surfaces such as desk tops, or actually in mid-air.

FingerIO works by repeatedly transmitting inaudible sound waves of the device’s speakers. Those waves bounce off the user’s finger, with their echoes and so being detected by two of the device’s mics – smartwatches typically have only one mic, so may need to be created with two in able-bodied to work with the process.

By analyzing the amount of time which elapses between the waves being emitted and their echoes subsequently attained, it is actually possible to calculate the finger’s position in space, in near-real time. It’s accurate to inside 8 mm.

Unlike a camera-based process, FingerIO works actually when the device is covered by clothing – such as a front pocket in the case of a phone, or a sleeve in the case of a watch. Technologies such as radar, on the other hand, may need extra
hardware along with increased processing power.

Suggested uses for the innovation include things like flicking a finger to control music playback volume, building tapping motions to nominate items, or actually writing text in the air. It’s may already been that successfully tested via an Android app running on a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, paired with a smartwatch customized with two microphones.

“You can’t type quite easily onto a smartwatch display, so we wanted to alter a desk or any area around a device into an input surface,” says study lead author Rajalakshmi Nandakumar. “I don’t need to instrument my fingers with any other sensors — I only use my finger to write a thing on a desk or any other surface and the device can track it with high resolution.”

A paper on the innovation is being presented in May at the CHI 2016 conference in San Jose, California. FingerIO is demonstrated in the video at a lower place.

Sources: University of Washington, FingerIO

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