Motion Sensors – The Future?


Interesting article over on the Beeb website that looks at a motion-sensitive laptop being developed.

Controlled much like a Wii the laptop will respond to a user’s movements when moving the machine, up, down, left, right, forwards and backwards.

The technology is currently being developed at BT’s research labs in Ipswich.

BT researcher David Chatting said: “We want to give people access to services in as simple a manner as possible.

“PCs are still very complicated. We are interested in the older user who is slightly fearful of this technology. The PC, monitor and mouse puts them off.”

He said the idea was to make using a computer as easy as using an Etch-A-Sketch toy.

The BT Balance will allow ease of browsing through documents with a simply flip of the monitor. Maps could also be read and navigated by tilting the monitor in the corresponding direction.

Read the full article here.

This isn’t a first time we’ve seen motion sensors in devices though. Yes, the recent ‘obvious’ is the Wii. However, for years these types of sensors have been in Apple and IBM notebooks. You can read about the Apple Sudden Motion Sensor from 1995 2005 here.

Bringing us a little closer to the ‘now’ the iPhone is also supposedly meant to have a screen that changes orientation when you rotate the device. However, Nokia have already come to market with motion sensors in their 5500 Sport. They released full SDKs to access their motion sensor APIs here.

Other recent examples include the D904i from NTT DoCoMo in Japan, featuring a tiny motion sensor that detects shaking and tilting. Predominant use for this at the moment is for mobile gaming with a similar scenario to the Wii.

Sharp Corp and Matsushita Electric Industrial are using built-in cameras to detect motion. By moving a finger from side to side infront of the camera users can control on screen characters and their movements.

Don’t get too excited though as these phones are scheduled for release in Japan in May with no current plans for overseas distribution.

It looks like motion sensors might be the new feature for handheld devices.

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~ by tomorrowsplayground on May 3, 2007.

2 Responses to “Motion Sensors – The Future?”

  1. “the Apple Sudden Motion Sensor from 1995”

    Shouldn’t that be 2005?

  2. Correct. Good spotting. Although 1995 would be pretty impressive eh?

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