Saturday, October 2, 2010


BlindType, recently acquired by Google.

With a goal of becoming the largest player in the industry, BlindType Inc will provide the innovative BlindType touch-typing software to most manufacturers of touch screen devices and operating systems. The unprecedented prediction accuracy of BlindType redefines how people will interact with touch screen devices for years to come.

The problem

With most of the mobile manufactures nowadays having replaced the T9 or QWERTY keyboards with touch screens, users have lost the feeling of the actual letters they press while typing. As a result, typing text on a touch sensitive screen can be quite a challenge, as not having any real tactile feedback and at the same time trying to pinpoint tiny letters usually leads to numerous spelling errors.

Although there have been many and various approaches trying to aid the typists, all prediction and auto correction software assume a static representation of the virtual keyboard at a predefined location on the touch screen of the device.

The user currently needs to have their complete focus on the screen at all times while typing, and still be frustrated at the spelling errors that their auto correction system will not fix, even though they seem too obvious.

The solution

Most inputs are just not “errors”. There is a reason the user touched the screen where they did, and a truly intelligent system should just figure out that reason.


Exclusive: I Used BlindType, Virtual Keyboard of the Future

When I tried the program on an iPad I could relax about mistakes. Not in spelling, but in the actual way I actually tried to hit keys on the touchscreen keyboard. Do you have fat fingers like me? Not a problem. Do your hands migrate slowly as you type? It can handle that too. Hold your iPad to one side, type in progressively larger or smaller movements, even ditch the keyboard altogether. BlindType can deal with it all. Just watch and learn:

If you found the above demonstration for BlindType impressive, you’re not alone. The video received more than 300,000 hits in its first week. Those are great numbers for a tech demo from a startup on YouTube. Kostas and Panos were so impressed with the positive response they even created a follow up thank you video


Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse coming to Asia

The original Arc Mouse was one of the most innovative input devices we'd seen, offering a full mousing experience with a small form factor. The new Arc Touch Mouse has raised the bar, combining a never-before-seen chassis with the company's most accurate sensor to date--BlueTrack.

A unique feature is the scroll bar, which provides haptic feedback vibrations that imitate a physical scroll wheel.


Nokia N8 review

Keyboard hell

The on-screen keyboard on the N8 also feels like an afterthought. In portrait mode, it's the 12-key alphanumeric kind, which takes ages to use and is an unwelcome blast from the past. We've seen usable Qwerty keyboards on touchscreens that are narrower than the N8's, and we wish Nokia had given this kind of keyboard a try.

We spent ages searching for the option to turn off the haptic feedback, but it wasn't under 'touch input' under 'settings' in the 'phone' menu -- instead, you have to change this option individually several times in each of the phone's profiles. You may love haptic feedback -- we think it feels like there's a small cockroach living in your phone -- but, whatever you're looking for, the N8 makes things too hard to find.

Read more:

Virtual brain surgery centre opens in Montreal

Canadian surgeons can now practise virtual brain surgery before using their scalpels on real patients.

The first of seven virtual-reality brain surgery training centres across the country opened officially Wednesday at the neurosurgical simulation centre in McGill University's Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (the Neuro), said a release from the National Research Council.

The simulator uses "haptic" hardware that allows a surgeon to feel sensations of moving and touching objects, like the vibration of the tip of an instrument or the difference in resistance between the more fibrous and softer parts of a tumour being removed.

Read more:

Nokia touchscreen creates texture illusion

>>Nokia has developed a prototype of its N900 smartphone that lets you feel the texture of icons on the screen – a technology that would add a whole new dimension to touchscreen apps.

This week, Nokia researcher Piers Andrew showed how the technology could give each icon its own feel or add surface texture to photographs. "The idea is to have everything on a touchscreen give tactile feedback," Andrew says.

The technology is based on an effect called electrovibration, in which touch receptors in the skin can be fooled into perceiving texture when you swipe a fingertip across an insulating layer above a metal surface carrying an alternating voltage. The higher the frequency of that alternating voltage, the smoother the texture feels.



Nokia's patent application:

Apparatus for providing nerve stimulation and related methods


An apparatus comprises an optically transparent electrode configured to provide transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to a user contacting a portion of an exterior surface of said apparatus proximal to said optically transparent electrode.

Inventors: Radivojevic; Zoran; (Cambridge, GB) ; Marinelli; Claudio; (Cambridge, GB) ; Ryhanen; Tapani; (Cambridge, GB) ; Beecher; Paul; (Cambridge, GB) ; Andrew; Piers; (Cambridge, GB)
Correspondence Address:
    HARRINGTON & SMITH     4 RESEARCH DRIVE, Suite 202     SHELTON     CT     06484-6212     US 
Assignee: Nokia Corporation

The above functionality may also be implemented in dynamic situations, for example, where a moving image is displayed on the display panel 130. For example, if a moving image of a ripple is being displayed by the display panel 130, the electrodes which, at any given moment, correspond to the locations of the peaks of the capillary waves of the ripple may be activated to provide stimulation of the finger tip receptors. Consequently, the receptors in a user's fingertip are stimulated as the peaks of the capillary waves of the ripple appear to `pass under` the fingertip, thereby providing a "haptic illusion". In order to maximise energy efficiency, only those electrodes which correspond to the locations of the peaks of the capillary waves of the ripple and which are detected as being under a user's fingertip may be activated.

Friday, October 1, 2010

UK's 4th CK (NHS's 2nd CK) at Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea, London

from the IV MB, by yyy60:

>>In 1851, The Royal Marsden became the first hospital in the world dedicated to the study and treatment of cancer. Today, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust enjoys a global reputation as a centre of excellence for research, teaching and treatment, thanks to a history of groundbreaking developments in the study of cancer.

Now The Royal Marsden is once again poised to pioneer cancer treatment with the introduction of CyberKnife.



Job Reference: 282-S0349MC
Job Title: Principal Radiotherapy Physicist
Employer: Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Department: Radiotherapy Physics
Location: London
Salary: £51,471 - £59,055 incl HCAS

We are looking for an enthusiastic physicist with significant experience in Radiotherapy Physics to join the Physics and Engineering team. Participation in innovative project work is encouraged and the postholder’s main project will be to lead the team participating in Cyberknife implementation and commissioning, whilst also expected to participate in the more routine work of the department.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Continental's Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal

Continental's Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal can signal the ideal gearshift point for maximum fuel economy and also warn of upcoming hazards. Drivers prove far more receptive than to visual or audible alerts.

The central mechanical feature of the Accelerator Force Feedback Pedal is an electric motor which is linked to the accelerator and which can generate a haptic signal in the form of a counterforce in the pedal. The pedal's active and passive functions are designed in such a way that it is not possible for the active function to counteract – let alone negate – the effect of the return springs of the passive pedal. This means that the actuator cannot cause the vehicle to accelerate and the required passive pedal return force is maintained at all times.

Continental - haptic controls

We have licensed our TouchSense rotary technology for use in vehicle controls since 2002. Siemens VDO Automotive (now Continental) has licensed our technology for use in the high-end Volkswagen Phaeton sedan and Bentley cars.

Read more:

Continental - Haptic Controls

Keeping a handle on traffic and functions

The growing number of increasingly complex devices and functions has created a demand for new control concepts that optimally support the driver without, at the same time, posing a distraction or making excessive claims on the driver’s attention.

Whether for requesting or inputting information or adjusting the controls on a device, the holistic HMI solutions developed in our ergonomics lab are designed to optimally deal with the full complexity of a driver's in-vehicle world and of today’s traffic conditions.

This has resulted in innovative electronic and mechatronic input solutions for drivers and passengers that ensure the simplest and most reliable control of devices and systems possible.

These offer carmakers diverse possibilities for realizing their own make and control philosophy that does justice to the increased diversity of vehicle types. Depending on what the vehicle manufacturer has in mind, we make use of different materials and technologies and design control elements using the most diverse shapes and forms. This way we help ensure that each vehicle make and every vehicle type is assigned a character of its very own.


  • Lower production costs
  • Fewer mechanical parts
  • Optimum stability
  • Environment /distance detection possible
  • Simplified HMI/navigation

Switch technologies for every need

Our range of products and services includes rotary devices with precise, programmable haptic feedback as well as control panels with capacitive, resistive or piezo technology.

Our development activities are also focused on control concepts that incorporate black panel surfaces, vanishing effects and voice command technologies.

Overview of control functions

  • Ultra-flat control panels employing capacitive or piezo technology for signal evaluation
  • Possibility of implementing black panel surfaces (vanishing effects)
  • Programmable haptic feedback
  • Modular concept

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

8x8, Inc., a provider of innovative cloud communications & Equinix

8x8, Inc., a provider of innovative cloud communications and computing solutions, today announced it has signed an agreement with Equinix for colocation and interconnection services at Equinix’s International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) DC6 campus located in Ashburn, Virginia.

With expansion to this new facility, 8x8 now maintains five data center operations in three U.S locations – Silicon Valley, New York City and Washington DC.

8x8 Signs Agreement with Equinix for Data Center Services in Washington, DC Area | Press Release |

Ethernet Expo Americas 2010

Equinix will be attending Ethernet Expo Americas 2010 (booth 238), billed as the premier event covering the hot topic of Carrier Ethernet network technologies and services in the Americas. Light Reading's 10th Ethernet Expo, this year's event in New York City will assemble dozens of experts from the service provider, supplier, and ana...lyst communities to explore the hottest trends and paint a roadmap for where Ethernet is likely to take us in the coming decade.

• Equinix CMO Jarrett Appleby Keynote: Nov 3, 2:45pm – “Promoting Your Ethernet Services to the Global Marketplace”

• Jim Poole Panelist: Nov 3, 9:15am – “Carrier Ethernet Exchanges – The Catalyst for Market Growth”

• Participation in the EANTC / Ancotel “Global Interconnect Showcase” demonstrations

• Equinix Booth 238 – public debut of the customer portal Equinix Marketplace for Equinix Carrier Ethernet Exchange; booth demonstrations

• Equinix Marketplace – Leading Lights Award Finalist! Winner to be announced at the award reception, evening of Nov 2.

• Customer Cocktail Reception – Nov 2, by invitation only

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Visteon Reconfigurable Touch Panel

from Visteon's data sheet.

Visteon's 'C-Beyond' Vehicle Concept To Be Showcased at Paris Motor Show - A New Vision for Connected and Sustainable Mobility

PARIS, Sept. 27, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Visteon Corporation is displaying the successful C-Beyond vehicle concept, featuring its unique range of innovative technologies, at the 2010 Paris Motor Show. The C-Beyond is on display for the first time publicly at the Estech stand. Visteon partnered with Estech, a service and styling bureau, to execute the design and integrate Visteon products and concepts into the demonstration vehicle.

Featuring more than 40 innovative technologies in climate and interior systems, infotainment and connectivity, and exterior lighting, the C-Beyond has received enthusiastic reviews from vehicle manufacturers and automotive media throughout Europe, Japan and China. It is scheduled to be shown in North America starting in early 2011.


(click to enlarge)

Haptic PND research could let your steering wheel turn you


>>New haptic PND research could result in steering wheels that physically pull at your hands according to pre-programmed routes, or canes for the sight-impared that could help users navigate by touch. The University of Utah study, led by mechanical engineer assistant professor William Provancher, attempts to bypass the already overloaded senses of sight and sound by instead using touch: in the prototype, users rest their index-fingers on IBM TrackPoint nubbins which then slightly pull the fingertip in the direction the GPS system wants them to turn.

haptic pnd prototype



During driving, the TrackPoints would rotate in the direction the driver was supposed to go, gently tugging on the skin of the driver’s fingers in the process.

In four six-minute driving scenarios — two without cell phones involved, and two with — the researchers found the following:

  • Without cell phone conversation: Voice accuracy, 97.6 percent; tactile accuracy, 97.2 percent.
  • With cell phone conversation: voice accuracy, 74 percent; tactile accuracy, 98 percent.

But it’s not just in the car that this tech could be used (though if so, it would appear in three to five years) — it could also be used for video games, portable media players such as the iPod, the military, air traffic controllers and emergency responders.

Acer Stream smartphone


>>SOLIDLY BUILT and with a gorgeous 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, Acer's Stream handset is a good-looking piece of kit. At 11.2mm it is a bit thicker than competitors such as Apple's Iphone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S, but not by much. Using the touchscreen display to tap out notes is a pleasant experience thanks to the gentle haptic feedback.

loss of memory and Cyberknife

Seraphine, a 14-year-old singer from Kenya, experienced health complications a couple of years ago, leading to
loss of memory. “She could not even walk straight sometimes. She would go the bathroom and after applying shampoo, she would come out without washing it. Most of the time, she would be lost."
How CyberKnife radiosurgery helped... her: