Human/Computer Interaction

Little Printer simplifies the News

BERG, a London based design company, created what they call the Little Printer.  This peripheral syncs with a smartphone application and prints personalized newspapers.  Inside the Little Printer is a thermal printer which essentially burns the image into the paper eliminating the need for costly ink.

Check out this video to clearly see the Little Printer in action:

Hello Little Printer, available 2012 from BERG on Vimeo.

This desktop companion would be a great addition to my x-mas list.  Too bad it won’t be available until sometime next year.

Hands-on virtual reality.

Microsoft has been developing what they are going to call the HoloDesk.  This device is essentially a see-through screen paired with a Kinect camera which creates the illusion that users are physically interacting with virtual 3D objects.  Check out this video for a deeper description of the HoloDesk’s capabilities:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHL5tJ9ja_w&feature=player_embedded#![/youtube]

via youtube user MicrosoftResearch

So far the HoloDesk is being used to simply move 3D objects without any real purpose.  I see this evolving into many gaming applications which will further transform these virtual environments into reality.  Also, the fact that there is no actual contact involved has led me to imply that this technology will see much use in the medical field as a way to deter the spreading of germs.  Instead of hitting a physical button individuals could click on a virtual button to accomplish the same task without running the risk of spreading germs.

This technology could influence the way we interact with machines.  Do you think that this technology will have any other positive influences on society?

 

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Mind Controlled Computers

Imagine being able to interact with a computer system by manipulating your own thoughts.  Recently, I found a video in which the head of Emotiv Systems explained their product designed to do just this.  Electrical activity along the scalp is gathered by a headset which connects to a program which learns how to interpret these signals (this is called Electroencephalography or EEG).  You can assign different actions to different thought processes, using the Emotiv software, allowing you to control almost any program with a little tweaking.

 

The Emotiv headset costs only a few hundred dollars which is very affordable considering most EEG headsets cost tens of thousands of dollars.  And it looks pretty cool:

Photo:  Tan Le via TED.com