Being someone who is interested in gadgets (see Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning) people are always asking me what is the next big thing. Well I can tell you that one of the next big things (5-10 year horizon) is body acoustics driven interfaces.
What is an acoustics driven interface? It is a new technology created by Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University that uses human body acoustics to turn a person's skin into an interactive touchscreen. It is called Skinput and the interface enables a person to use the surface of their skin to control gadgets. Researchers have found a way to exploit the way skin, musculature and skeleton combine to make distinctive sounds when tapped on different parts of the arm, palm, fingers and thumb.
Check out this article on the subject: Body acoustics can turn your arm into a touchscreen
Read a research article on subject called Skinput: Appropriating the Body as an Input Surface. As the article states:
Appropriating the human body as an input device is appealing not only because we have roughly two square meters of external surface area, but also because much of it is easily accessible by our hands (e.g., arms, upper legs, torso). Furthermore, proprioception – our sense of how our body is configured in three-dimensional space – allows us to accurately interact with our bodies in an eyes-free manner. For example, we can readily flick each of our fingers, touch the tip of our nose, and clap our hands together without visual assistance. Few external input devices can claim this accurate, eyes-free input characteristic and provide such a large interaction area.
And, check out the YouTube video on the subject.
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