Interaction in Thin Air: New Research from Microsoft, MIT Uses Magnets, Sound, Space

With multi-touch fully exploited and the basics of camera vision largely understood, interaction moves to the realm of free space, “augmenting” your world with gestures that find some physical connection. They surprise by working in some way that seems intuitive and natural, somewhere away from what seems to be the realm of the computer. And early in the month of May, we see a flurry of new research in just this area. Not one but two projects from Microsoft hold potential, and one from MIT Media Lab is just … absurdly cool. A summary: “Levitated Interaction Element,” out of the …

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Guiding Movements with Light: New Research Project Teaches You Gestures [Kinect]

“Natural interaction” is the phrase commonly applied to gestural interfaces. But a gesture is only “natural” once you’ve learned it. And as everyone from interaction designers to game makers have discovered, that can leave users confused about just what gesture they’re supposed to make. (Ironically, the maligned conventional game controller doesn’t suffer so much from this problem, as its buttons and joysticks and directional pads all constrain movement to a limited gestural vocabulary.) A team of researchers has just shared a new approach to the problem. Coming from Microsoft Research and the University of Illinois’ Computer Science department, authors Rajinder …

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Depressing Project of the Day: Stock Market, Set to Music with Microsoft Songsmith

I’ve been talking to folks about sonifying or music-i-fying data a lot lately; I even created a soothing, gamelan-like melody from my Gmail spam folder at South by Southwest last spring. But this particular example is, well … special. I hesitate to share this, because a) YouTube numbers suggest you may have seen it already and b) it’s pretty depressing. On the other hand, it’s not like the fact the economy is depressing is news, exactly, so I suggest we employ the time-tested coping method that is laughter. Thanks (?) to Paul Norheim for this. It also suggests a pleasing …

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