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Cellphones GUI Software Technology

Is the Bar of Soap Tomorrow's Smarterphone? 141

Barence writes "Researchers at MIT have developed a gadget that knows whether you want to use it as a camera or smartphone, just by the way you're holding it. So, if you hold the device, dubbed the Bar of Soap, out in front of you like a camera it will automatically bring up an LCD viewfinder. However, if you then switch to holding it as you would a mobile phone, it will bring up a touchscreen keypad instead. The Bar of Soap utilises a three-axis accelerometer and 72 surface sensors to track the position of the user's fingers and its position."
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Is the Bar of Soap Tomorrow's Smarterphone?

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  • Re:Great (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mozk ( 844858 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:07PM (#26907217)

    I know people with bad vision who hold out their phone in much the same way as I imagine one would to switch to camera mode in this device, so I could see problems with this. Honestly it's not that hard to push a button, and a lot of phones have a dedicated button to bring up the camera interface.

  • Re:Great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cillian ( 1003268 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:08PM (#26907223) Homepage
    And I wonder how much all this extra tech/sensors adds to the price...... Personally, I'll go for the switch and keep the cash. I mean, sure, shiny stuff is cool, but if that's the best they can think of to do with the tech... *sigh*
  • Re:Great (Score:2, Interesting)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:16PM (#26907381) Journal

    Which translates into $20-$30 dollars added to the retail price of the phone...

  • Finding Reception (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Maladius ( 1289924 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:20PM (#26907447)
    I'm definitely foreseeing a problem when you hold the phone out in front of you and move it around to try and find reception. That's a very similar position to the one you would use for picture taking.
  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @05:35PM (#26907675)

    My younger brother got a new touchscreen phone the other day and was complaining about how the camera button was in a horrible spot, and was hard to use without pressing other buttons. I picked it up and held it sideways like a camera and none of my fingers came close to touching any buttons, except for the camera button that was under my right index finger right where the shutter button should be.

    Me: Seems fine to me.
    Him: Why would anyone want to hold it like *that*?

    I still can't convince him to to not hold it like you would when taking a picture with a flip-phone.

  • Best ever design (Score:2, Interesting)

    by know1 ( 854868 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:18PM (#26908443)
    Sony cybershot. Pull the lense cover down, goes into camera mode, with a button wierd you would expect it. Web browsing screen orientation is changed only by user demand - press asterisk to switch. I'm posting this comment from it now. Best ever.
  • Re:Great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by againjj ( 1132651 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @06:26PM (#26908617)
    To bolster your comment, I note that they state that there is only a 70% accuracy (at this time) which goes to 90% if it is trained to a specific user. Not exactly very reliable.
  • Re:Great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by he-sk ( 103163 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2009 @07:23PM (#26909461)

    Broadening the focus on technical properties other than megapixel still misses the point that people take pictures and not cameras. The fact is that no technical property is a good indicator of the quality of a picture, because technology improves and changes all the time. Restricting yourself to an old and/or lofi camera can be lots of fun and that's the real challenge: making good pics with any camera.

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost