One of Microsoft’s latest research projects offers gesture controls using a computer’s speakers, microphone and inaudible sounds. The technology is called “SoundWave” and it utilizes the Doppler effect to detect gestures. With the help of a computer’s speakers and microphone, SoundWave can detect the frequency change of a sound wave by using inaudible sounds and measuring the change in feedback as a hand gesture is performed. Even if a user is playing music on his or her laptop or there’s a lot of background noise, SoundWave will still be able to detect gestures. The technology can even detect when a person walks to or away from a computer, and respond by unlocking or locking the device. Microsoft’s video demonstration follows below. More →
A recent patent application from Microsoft reveals that the software giant is looking to bring real-time hand-gestures to tablets, PatentBolt reported on Monday. The patent summary doesn’t provide an extensive overview of the invention — instead, the company states “its sole purpose is to present some concepts disclosed herein in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.” Microsoft goes on to say that there is “a need to provide simple, accurate, fast and computationally inexpensive methods of object and hand pose recognition for many applications.” The application highlights Microsoft’s image processing system, which will be incorporated into the tablet to be used to classify images captured by the camera. The classification information can then be used by the tablet to control software and the user interface. More →
Some believe a future full of massive, gesture-controlled computer displays like the ones seen in Twentieth Century Fox’s Minority Report are an inevitability, and a prototype PC designed by an intern with the Microsoft Applied Sciences Group may be among the first steps in making that future a reality. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D student and MIT Media Lab research assistant Jinha Lee recently set out to change the way we interact with desktop computers. While progress has been made with 3D display technology, 3D has not yet proliferated in the personal computing space and Lee wants to change that. The end result of his work is a fascinating desktop computer with a transparent 3D display and a unique gesture-based interface that could change the way we use computers. More →
Swype released the latest version of its popular software keyboard exclusively for Sprint Nexus S 4G users on Tuesday. Swype now supports new app gesture features, shortcuts, dictionary management, automatic noun capitalization and more. Users, for example, can now move from the Swype Key to “t” and then “w” to automatically launch Twitter. The shortcuts feature allows you to select all by moving from the Swype Key to “a,” and cut, copy or paste using similar gestures. We tested all the new additions on a demo Nexus S 4G with the Swype preloaded, and we liked the new features but we still can’t get the hang of typing quickly with it just yet. It’s unclear when the latest Swype iteration will be available for other Android handsets, but Nexus S 4G owners can update immediately. Hit the jump for a quick video of the new features in action. More →
Today Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb, also known as Major Nelson, announced that Microsoft has added Netflix support to the Xbox 360 Kinect accessory. Using Kinect, you’ll be able to browse your Netflix queue by waving your hands or speaking out loud, which means you won’t have to go searching for your Xbox 360 controller just to watch a movie. Controls include the ability browse, play, pause, fast forward and rewind, and you can perform any of those actions using your voice or gestures. Hyrb said the update is available now and that Kinect users should expect to be prompted to apply the patch the next time they launch Netflix. More →
Google has announced an update to its Google Mobile App for iOS that adds several new features and gives the application a shorter name. Henceforth to be known simply as Google Search, the new application adds Google Apps shortcuts, gesture support, and a new toolbar, that make hunting down that nugget of Internet gold even easier from your iPhone or iPod touch. The application is available for free in the App Store immediately. There is a video demoing some the new features after the break. More →
Apple has been testing multitouch gestures for quite a while, and we reported in January that this will likely lead to Apple ultimately ditching the home button on future iPad and iPhone devices. The feature, which simplifies certain tasks such as app switching, still isn’t available to the general public. But as it turns out, anyone can enable multitouch gestures on the iPad or iPad 2 with just a few minutes and $5. As pointed out by Gizmodo, users can simply purchase Apple’s iOS developer software Xcode 4 — available for $5 from the Mac App Store — and enable the nifty feature with a single click. Once enabled, users will be able to use a four-finger swipe from side to side in order to switch open apps, swipe up with four fingers to open the app switcher, and use a five-finger pinch to return to the home screen. Hit the break for the simple instructions. More →
Today at Mobile World Congress, mobile processor juggernaut Texas Instrument held a press event to offer some additional details about its OMAP 4 and 5 processor lines. Greg Delagi, the company’s senior vice president and general manager, gave the keynote — which took place right on the showroom floor. He emphatically talked about the need to push the capabilities of “smart devices” forward while being mindful of the constraints battery technology puts on the industry. Both RIM and LG were brought on stage — the PlayBook and Optimus 3D both use the OMAP 4 platform — and they too heralded the headway TI is making with its system on a chip (SoC) OMAP processors. The company even has technology in place that will bring cost effective, power efficient gesture recognition and Pico DLP technology to a wider array of smartphones and smart devices; it works just like the Kinect. We have some video of the motion-based gesture recognition, in action running on prototype hardware after the break, along with some of Mr. Delagi’s thoughts on why OMAP is such an effective mobile processor. More →
BGR exclusively reported on Wednesday that Apple is currently testing a variety of gestures on its iPhone. While the more interesting gestures are still locked away safely on the Apple campus, the task-switching gesture managed to come out to play in Apple’s recent iOS 4.3 beta software. Antoni Nygaard decided to laugh in the face of Apple’s developer agreement on Wednesday and show off these new gestures on camera. As we’ve pointed out in the past, these gestures are currently in place for testing purposes only. Trust us — if and when gesture support is officially added to the iPhone, it won’t involve uncomfortable four-finger swipes. So while we all wait impatiently to see what official gesture support might look like, hit the break for the video demo of Apple’s test gestures in action on an iPhone 3GS. More →
One of our Apple sources has just sent us over a couple screen shots from what we’re told is an internal test model of the iPhone 4. The shots are interesting because it looks like Apple is testing multitouch gestures on the iPhone in addition to the iPad. While this isn’t shocking, what’s interesting is that internally, the same amount of fingers applies to gestures on both devices. What we mean by this, is that you have to use four finger gestures on the iPhone just like the iPad — kind of difficult such a comparatively tiny screen. It might be easier with say… a multitouch gesture area below the screen, sort of where the home button is? Oh, wait. We imagine things will be refined as testing progresses, but we have to ask in all seriousness — can you handle four fingers? Check out our gallery for a few more images!
We just got some pretty wild information from one of our Apple sources and while it’s hard to believe at first, it does make sense. We have exclusively been told that the reason Apple just added multitouch gestures for the iPad in the latest iOS 4.3 beta is because the iPad will be losing the home button. Yes, we are told that Apple, at some point in time, will remove the home button from the iPad’s design. Instead of button taps, you will use new multitouch gestures to navigate to the home screen and also to launch the app switcher.
That’s not all, however. In addition to the home button disappearing from the iPad, we’re told that this change will make its way over to the iPhone as well. Our source said Apple employees are already testing iPads and iPhones with no home buttons on the Apple campus, and it’s possible we will see this new change materialize with the next-generation iPad and iPhone devices set to launch this year.
Additionally, we’re told Apple’s popular photo-taking application, Photo Booth, will be appearing on the next iPad. It’s also very possible that we’ll see iLife apps for iOS unveiled around the iPad 2 release as well.
It has been said that Steve Jobs didn’t want any physical buttons on the original iPhone at first, and it looks like he may soon get his wish.
Following news that iOS 4.3 beta 1 has been seeded to developers, Apple’s servers are no doubt being hammered by anxious developers looking to explore all the new features. We pinged a few of our dev friends for feedback on new additions they’ve found and here’s what we have so far:
- Personal hotspot capabilities for GSM devices — as we exclusively reported earlier today
- AirPlay support for third-party native apps and third-party Web apps
- Redesigned FaceTime icon
- Multi-touch gesture support for iPad — “This beta release contains a preview of new Multi-Touch gestures for iPad. You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps. We are providing this preview before releasing them to the public to understand how these gestures work with your apps.”
- Configurable slide switch for iPad — users can now decide whether the hardware switch above the volume rocker on the iPad controls mute or rotation lock
- iAd full screen banners on the iPad — bigger ads… just what iPad users have been clamoring for
Interestingly, iOS 4.3 appears to also have dropped support for Apple second-generation iPhone — the iPhone 3G — and its second-generation iPod touch. This could make the current build Apple’s final software release for these devices.
UPDATE: Several readers have emailed us to point out that enthusiast blog iSpazio may have uncovered a little gem. References to the following effects have been found in the iOS 4.3 code, and they might be introduced as live video effects for video capture and FaceTime calls:
- Thermal Camera
- Tunnel of Light
If you’re a BlackBerry fan, there is probably not a single thing you have been looking forward to more than what we have right here — screenshots and full details of RIM’s upcoming operating system, OS 6.0. One of our AT&T sources has not only showed us the brand new OS, but has also given us some screenshots that we could share. Since we have seen OS 6.0 in action first hand, we will break it down for you guys, along with all the other screenshots, after the break! More →