Have trouble tearing yourself away from the computer? Good news!
Scientists at Berkeley’s Sensor and Actuator Center (BSAC) have invented a way to make hands, things you can take everywhere, the only keyboard geeks will ever need.
Berkeley grad student, Seth Hollar, developed a set of prototype gloves that took the place of a keyboard. The gloves hold tiny devices on each finger that can “sense” location when they are still, and measure acceleration when they are moving.
“It works like a large ball in a small square room. And the walls can measure where the ball is,” said Hollar.
This double ability of the devices, called accelerometers, make them perfect for taking replacing a keyboard, said Hollar.
But the BSAC engineers envision a final product much more “gee-whiz” than its prototype: A set of 10 high-powered micro-appliances glued on each finger. Each will consist of an accelerometer, a battery, and an RF transmitter. (RF stands for Radio Frequency, and is what your cell phone uses to communicate).
The goal of BSAC is to put all three devices into a package no larger than one-millimeter-cubed, something they call “smart dust”.
No commercial company has yet expressed interest in developing the virtual keyboard, but what good is a monocle-sized computer screen unless its paired with a virtual keyboard?
Keyboards aside, these devices could be used to make virtual musical instruments and translate sign language.