New peripheral devices allow smoother control of connected screens

Haptix enables you to control your screen from a flat surface

Gesture recognition technologies have really taken off in recent years and mass market products based on these technologies continue to be developed, one example being the recent launch of Leap Motion. The latest peripheral device, Haptix, also allows you to remotely control a connected platform using movement sensors. However, while Leap Motion’s configuration requires the user to make gestures and movements in the air, this new accessory allows you to transform any flat surface into a touchscreen, which makes for smooth and precise handling. Haptix Touch, the company behind the product, which has just launched a fund-raising effort on the Kickstartercrowdsourcing platform, claims that Haptix will “transform the way people interact with computers.”

Sensors turn any flat surface into a touchscreen

Practically speaking, Haptix is basically a sort of webcam which can connect to any sort of screen via a USB. It consists of two CMOS image sensors which point towards the flat surface and capture the position of your hands. The information is transmitted to the platform and transformed by algorithms into 3D representations, so that you can control the content on the screen. This system requires only quite limited gestures by the user and is compatible with any flat surface. The multi-touch approach means fewer repetitive movements on a keyboard and even allows you to use your fingers as cursors, thus rendering the mouse obsolete. This smoother, more intuitive system does not require the user to make gradual adjustments in physical movements needed to establish full control of the device – the sort of criticism that has been leveled at Leap Motion.

Multiple applications

Haptix is scheduled for shipping in February 2014 with a $14 dollar price tag. It is likely to find a range of uses both in a business environment and in the home. In its demonstration video on Kickstarter, the startup shows an artist using a real paintbrush to create a digital picture, so one might also envisage using Haptix in the worlds of design and architecture, as a substitute for graphic design palettes. More generally, Haptix could also help to minimize the occurrence of Repetitive Strain Injury, which is linked to prolonged use of keyboard and mouse, and reduce the need to make the repetitive movements that lead to bad posture. Firms such as the French company Haption have already developed services based on haptic technology designed to reduce physical discomfort at work.

By Thomas Meyer
Journalist, Business Analyst