As touchscreen technology becomes more and more a part of our daily lives, a group of scientists at the University of Toronto and University of Alberta’s Autodesk Research have been working on a way to bring touch interfaces to a whole new level, further merging the digital world with the real world.
The group has created a prototype called “Magic Finger” which gives any surface the ability to detect touch input by way of the user’s finger. Magic Finger is, simply put, a velcro ring that has two optical sensors; a low resolution, high-speed sensor for tracking movement, and a high-resolution camera that is able to detect 32 different surface textures. It is this second sensor that is most impressive, as it is what gives Magic Finger the ability to recognize any surface you touch and transform that surface into an interface used to pass information.
Those at Autodesk Research hope to soon offer a miniaturized version of the Magic Finger. The device can then either be attached to a ring, embedded under a fingernail, or embedded in the fingertip itself so that it is invisible and can easily be used when needed. [Source: Autodesk Research, Gizmag]