Intelligent Machines

Anywhere Interface

French physicists Ros Kiri Ing and Mathias Fink have figured out how to turn any rigid surface into an interface for electronic systems. The technology – which the pair hope to commercialize via their Paris-based startup, Sensitive Object – uses one or two inexpensive accelerometers to detect finger taps on, say, a storefront display window or a keyboard drawn on a blackboard. A computer chip calculates the precise origin of each tap and translates that information into mouse clicks and keystrokes. Users might use the technology, for example, to “click” on a storefront mannequin’s hat to learn its price. Ing says the technique has advantages over other user interfaces under development because it can work with a surface as large as four square meters, and the number of “keys” can reach 544.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Listen in as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.