Motion sensitive laptops under development

A motion-sensitive laptop which can be controlled much like a Nintendo Wii remote is under development.

The tablet PC laptop has been adapted to respond to a user when moving the machine up or down, side to side, or forwards and backwards. It is hoped the BT Balance system can help people with disabilities or the elderly, for whom using a keyboard or mouse can be difficult.

The technology is under development at BT’s research labs in Ipswich, UK.

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 system can be used to read through books or documents, turning pages with a simple flip of the monitor. Maps could be read by tilting the screen up or down, left or right, corresponding to moving the map north, south, west or east.

There are essentially two components to BT Balance – a microchip called an accelerometer, which works in much the same way as the balance system in the human ear, and a software interface which interprets the motion data.

BT has embedded the chip into a tablet PC and has written software to interpret the data and control the cursor and the programs.

Mr Chatting said: “This is still a research project. We are able to discriminate between a tip to the left, or right or was the device knocked, nudged or shaken.”

Source: BBC News

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