A source within Qualcomm has confirmed that the company quietly acquired Open Interface North America in December of 2007. Founded in 2000, Open Interface North America (OINA) is an embedded Bluetooth software developer that has provided Bluetooth software for companies such as Sharp, Sprint, Motorola, and LG. One of OINA's most recent accomplishments was a new Bluetooth streaming audio codec named Soundabout Lossless, which promised a dramatic improvement over the prevalent A2DP Bluetooth audio standard.
At the Consumer Electronics Show, Hitachi is demo'ing a product called Starboard that is a multi-touch interface at a very large scale. You can use it to control a regular PC, and they've also got some custom apps for it. One of those is shown in the video.
What's interesting is that this is a projected interface, so it's untethered from the need to have a touch-sensitive LCD. This allows it to scale very large relatively inexpensively. They were also showing a wall-size version.
The projector in both cases was a very short throw Hitachi model … Read more
Despite its widespread adoption, the current Bluetooth audio standard (A2DP) isn't pretty. The lackluster audio quality currently achievable using Bluetooth is fine for noisy applications such as car audio or wireless workout headphones, but degraded Bluetooth audio has kept the technology from crossing over into the world of high-end audio and home theater components. With any luck, 2008 will be the year that the A2DP Bluetooth audio standard gets pushed aside by a superior audio codec called SoundAbout Lossless.
Ever want to send an underwater text message? Laugh if you will, but on your next scuba-diving vacation you'll wish you had one of these gadgets if your air tank runs unexpectedly low.
In fact, this "Underwater Digital Interface" from Underwater Technologies Center can reportedly keep up to 56 divers networked with ships or land bases up to 1,000 yards away. And fortunately for them, the designers kept the product's functions simple--because the last thing you'd need in this situation is a complicated keyboard. (We wouldn't want to take a chance on a … Read more
There are two dominant software projects that provide Linux with a graphical user interface, but only one of them will get long-term support in Ubuntu's next version of the open-source operating system.
GNOME, the default user interface for Ubuntu, will receive the support, but KDE won't. The reason, according to Canonical, which sponsors Ubuntu and is trying to make a business of selling the support contracts, is simply that KDE is at an awkward transitional period between two versions, the old-line 3.5 and the imminent and significantly different 4.0.
Developer interest is focused on KDE 4.… Read more
Perhaps huffing at your computer might get you somewhere if research at the Georgia Institute of Technology comes to fruition.
Shwetak Patel and Gregory Abowd from Georgia Tech have published a paper that describes how to use a computer microphone to determine where on a screen a person is blowing. The technique, which they call BLUI for Blowable and Localized User Interaction, can distinguish between the different sounds air makes depending on where the breath is directed.
"BLUI supports blowing at a laptop or computer screen to directly control specific parts of an interactive application, such as blowing at … Read more
Adobe Systems wants to transform its flagship Photoshop software with an interface customized to the task at hand, a potentially radical revamp for software whose power today is hidden behind hundreds of menu options.
A new user interface will help Photoshop become "everything you need, nothing you don't," said Photoshop product manager John Nack, describing aspirations for the Photoshop overhaul on his blog Monday.
"We must make Photoshop dramatically more configurable," Nack said. "Presenting the same user experience to a photographer as we do to a radiologist, as to a Web designer, as to … Read more
Advertising space is scarce. No wonder advertisers are innovative when it comes to taking advantage of underutilized real estate--such as the human skin.
Handvertising USA is an Orange County-based company that connects advertisers with customers willing to display ads on their hands.
"Almost everyone has been to a county fair, swap meet, bar or club and had had their hand stamped for proof of entry. We have found a better use for this space that could make everyone happy," says CEO Mike Brown. "We find venues also use the stamps to increase business. For example, venues are … Read more
What do you get when you cross a Firefox with a chameleon?
An open-source Web browser whose user interface is adapted to the look of the operating system it's running on. One change planned for the upcoming Firefox version 3, code-named Gran Paradiso, is this more native appearance.
"The Web browser is an incredibly central piece of the user's operating system, and we don't want the user's initial reaction to be that they have modified their computer to add some type of strange, foreign application," said Mozilla interface designer Alex Faaborg in a blog posting last week. &… Read more