Imaginary Phone Turns Your Hand Into a 'Touchscreen'; Gets Weird Looks From Others

[Photo: Hasso-Plattner Institute]
So now that we’ve all got touchscreen smartphones, what’s the future hold for handheld interfaces? If the Hasso-Plattner Institute has anything to say, it’s probably something along the lines of use-your-palm-as-an-imaginary-phone.

No, they’re not joking. Thanks to a wearable depth camera, you could interact with your palm the way you would use a touchscreen; all the touch inputs would be sent to the phone via Wi-Fi. The entire system has no physical or visual feedback, so it relies entirely on your muscle memory to remember what it’s like to use your smartphone without, you know, actually using it.

Video: Imaginary Interface Lets You Interact with an Invisible Phone

The researchers imagine that this technology could be used to answer a call with wet hands, which sounds a lot more practical compared to using a device completely blind.

So far the technology has proven to be pretty usable by participants who could accurately select about two-thirds of their apps using just their palms. Currently the Imaginary Phone uses a large depth camera mounted to an extending arm, but miniaturizing is in the plan. So we all will have to wait a little while before we can stare at are palms while talking to, seemingly, no one on a Bluetooth headset.

[Hasso-Plattner Institute via Engadget]

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