Over the last few years we have seen some truly big advances when it comes to keyboards. Touchpads keyboards were considered the top of the line and now something has come along.
Touchpad keyboards have become the newest sensation because they can be shrunk down to fit either a tablet computer like the Motorola Xoom or the iPad or to fit Smartphones like what Palms, iPhones and several Android phones like the Optimus Black. Of course, because of their usually smaller size, they can become a bit of a nuisance when you are trying to really work with different programs. That’s why researchers at Texas A&M university have come up with what appears to be the next big thing, as well as something like looks like it jumped off of a science fiction movie screen.
ZeroTouch is a new kind of interface that is described as “optical multi-touch sensor, which provides zero thickness, open air, multi-touch and gestural sensing.” Open air means that there is literally no touch screen or keyboard to use. The ZeroTouch system is one that works thanks to more than 200 small infrared sensors mounted on an empty frame. These sensors (the same kind that your television remote uses) create a picture of whatever gestures your hands are making when you insert them inside the frame.
Of course the real ingenuity is the computer program that then takes the data that the infrared sensors deliver and transmits that data into information that can be read as instructions for whatever program is running. The uses for this kind of technology are almost literally limitless. Of course video gaming is already going down the motion sensing door, but what if there was a way to boost the way that a system like the new Wii 2 senses who is playing the game and how they are moving?
Of course this technology wasn’t created to make a better video game. There are countless real world applications that will make not having a screen or a keyboard that you need to touch that much easier to use. The real beauty of this particular software is that when it is perfected, it should be relatively cheap. Infrared sensors can be had for as little as $0.50 a piece. With the right software, and a little know-how a person can build their own open air interface by themselves. Check out the video demonstrating this new tech.