Speech Controlled Wheel Chair

A speech recognition system (HM2007) was connected to an Innovation FIRST controller board, and they both where mounted on an old electric wheel chair. Some 12 Sensors were also mounted on the chair for detecting Stairs, obstacles and slops. The man on the chair speaks to a microphone, and the HM2007 recognizes the word and sends its code to the FIRST microcontroller. The C code on the FIRST controller receives the code from the HM2007 and the data from the sensors, and after processing it all together the controller outputs two voltage that tell the chair controller where and how fast to go.

The chair also got an EMIC text-to-speech module. This module vocally speaks out warnings to the man on the chair.

Windows 7 to Feature Reinvented Windows Explorer Wheel

Windows Explorer is one of the areas of Windows generating disappointment for users in the evolution from Windows XP to Windows Vista. Although in Vista, Windows Explorer was indeed kicked up a notch in terms of design, functionality and capabilities, the fact is that hardcore users were left missing the amputated Windows File System, even though Microsoft claimed that the best parts of WinFS were included into Vista. Well, with Windows 7, the Redmond company has yet another chance at reinventing the wheel with Windows Explorer and, apparently, the software giant will go for it.

The Windows group is looking for no less than to “shape the vision of browsing, searching, indexing and visualizing data,” according to a member who pointed out that efforts are being made to reinvent “the way people think about their data. Our team is responsible for developing the Windows Explorer. In the next versions of Windows we will be breaking new ground enabling users to act on their items, irrespective of where they are stored and delivering an indexing technology to provide wicked fast views over their local data.”

With Windows 7, Microsoft is in fact looking to “redefine the face of Windows,” something which of course was not the case with Windows Vista. In this regard, the most interesting development direction for Windows Explorer in Windows 7 is the users' ability to “act on their items, irrespective of where they are stored”.

Microsoft might be preparing Windows 7 to actually stretch into the Cloud. The Redmond company has already confirmed that Windows 7 and Windows Live Wave 3 would be virtually joined at the hip, but there is an additional scenario for the successor of Windows Vista “to ignore” the actual location of files. The Redmond company is working on a Cloud platform dubbed Live Mesh. The new platform permits users, among other things, to store and synchronize files and folders across a variety of devices including laptops, PCs, mobile phones, servers, etc. In this regard, it could be possible that Microsoft is considering a very intimate connection between Windows Explorer and Live Mesh straight on Windows 7 desktops.

The Touchless Touch Screen User Interface

As much as I love my iPhone, I can’t stand getting fingerprints all over the phone’s beautiful glossy screen. So I was jazzed when the guys over at Norway’s Elliptic Labs let me know about their new touchless user interface technology.

The system is capable of detecting movements in 3-dimensions without ever having to put your fingers on the screen.

Their patented touchless interface doesn’t require that you wear any special sensors on your hand either. You just point at the screen (from as far as 5 feet away), and you can manipulate objects in 3D.

Elliptic says the technology is compact enough that it could eventually be embedded into mobile devices. Representatives of the company will be on hand at the upcoming GDC show in San Francisco this February to show off their system in person.

Microsoft Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 and 7000

Microsoft has introduced two new Laser Mice: the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 and Wireless Laser Mouse 7000, "giving consumers more choice and flexibility in their computing experience." The first one is a full-size "unique" mouse with a portable snap-in transceiver for easy storage and mobility. The good looking Laser 7000 is a rechargeable mouse sporting a mini transceiver and an ergonomic shape for hours of comfortable use. Both of them uses 2.4GHz frequency.

The Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 and Wireless Laser Mouse 7000 will be available in March 2008 for $50 and $70 respectively.

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