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Is the Bar of Soap Tomorrow's Smarterphone?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the next-generation-uses-earwax-proximity dept.

Cellphones 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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Great (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907107)

I look forward to the day when I wont have to face the arduous task of pressing the camera button when I want to switch to camera mode. And I am sure I won't look like an idiot twisting and shaking my phone back and forth, trying to get the damn camera on (like with iPhone switching portrait/lansdcape mode) because the feature will work flawlessly every time. Sorry, I tend to be in a sarcastic mood early in the morning. Yes, I know it's 1pm.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907215)

At least you won't have to twist and shake like an idiot for very long. Newer camera-phones enter camera mode pretty fast, less than 10 seconds.

Re:Great (0, Redundant)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907341)

Less than 10 seconds is fast? I know I'm used to the responsiveness of an SLR, but IMO camera-phones are still worthless until they can at least match the start-up speed of a normal point and shoot.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907843)

I just tried, out of curiosity, how fast my current camera phone (Samsung SGH-G800) switches to the camera mode.

Quite exactly 3 seconds from moving the lid off the lense (which can be done as I remove the phone from my pocket) to it showing image on the screen. It is well fast enough. And at 5 megapixels, the quality is well enough for my normal use (IE. sharing the photos of different events with my friends).

There are problems, sure. It's not yet a real camera. The video works really great (but at just 320x240 resolution) but when using the normal camera... Flash is quite dim. And very minor movement ruins the images. I was at a party where I took 45 photos with it. I deleted 25 of them the next day just because of those were too unclear. (granted, I was drunk when I took them)

Even so, camera phones have came a LONG way in the last year or two. They are no longer worthless as they used to be and in a year or two more, I am sure they will completely overthrow any normal digital cameras for ordinary use (professional photographers being exception)

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

nautsch (1186995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907945)

Hmm. I still hope, that people will get that megapixels are NOT an indicator for the quality of the picture.

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908767)

Megapixels are an indicator of quality, just not the main or single one.

The quality of the lens and sensor, also the size of the sensor also matters as much as (or more than) the megapixel count, but still, if a camera had a perfect lens and a 75mm sensor, but a resolution of only 320x240, it may actually do worse than a cameraphone with it's tiny sensor and a below average lens but 5mpx... Shooting in low light would be a different matter...

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

he-sk (103163) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Great (2, Insightful)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909641)

That is true, but sometimes (at least I) take photos that would have no "artistic" value, but only for informational purposes, for example taking a photo of a page of text (using a phone as a scanner), the requirement here is that the text is readable, which depends a lot on technical properties of the phone (one phone I had couldn't take a clear picture of text, either the page is too close (out of focus) or it is too far away (too few pixels per character)).

And yes, a cameraphone will never be as good as a DSLR camera, but I have trouble putting a DSLR camera in my pocket... Also video cameras with photo capability are better than phones, for example my Handycam DCR-HC90E takes 3mpx photos that are way better than the 3mpx photos my Nokia N93 takes. On the other hand the N93 fits in my pocket, while the Handycam does not.

Re:Great (1)

aywwts4 (610966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909441)

In good cameras perhaps the difference between 7, and 12 MP camera is really just optics and CCDs. But when you are talking about Camera-phones it is back to the late 90s, the difference between VGA (.3) 1.5, and 3 megapixels is a massive shift. Especially since they usually all have the same crappy optics.

Re:Great (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907959)

Less than 10 seconds is fast? I know I'm used to the responsiveness of an SLR, but IMO camera-phones are still worthless until they can at least match the start-up speed of a normal point and shoot.

While not blindingly fast, the iPhone starts up the camera mode in approximately the same amount of time as a lot of point and shoots. Maybe a bit longer, but it's certainly not 10 seconds. SLR is obviously in whole different category.

Re:Great (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908719)

Hrrm, my Sidekick Slide (which isn't all that great) takes about 1 second to give you a working camera...

Re:Great... Twist and Shake? Sounds like... (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909349)

Twister in the shower... Just don't DROP this phone in the shower... it might require mental AND physical gymnastics to use it properly...

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909699)

I think the other error is far more likely, because when a vision-impaired person brings something in their hand to their face they look down and therefore the phone will be in an angled position. But what happens when you want to take a picture of something in that position?

On the other hand, using both hands to hold a camera steadies it which leads to better pictures. The device could use its surface sensors to enforce this behavior (whenever possible), subtly helping people making better pics.

Re:Great (3, Interesting)

Cillian (1003268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907223)

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 (2, Informative)

dns_server (696283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907289)

i have heard that accelerometors are only about $2-3 in volume so they are cheap.

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907381)

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

Re:Great (1)

AnarkiNet (976040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907703)

Don't forget to round up to the $50 mark.

Re:Great (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907795)

Now that's just gross exaggeration!

Re:Great (2, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909485)

And net profit!

Re:Great (3, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907873)

i have heard that accelerometors are only about $2-3 in volume so they are cheap.

So, only about a thousand times as expensive as a switch, then?

Re:Great (5, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907225)

Hmm...sounds like a PITA.

Have they never seen anyone lay down while they talk on the phone. I'd be pissed if I was laying down, heard the phone ring, picked it up, and when I said hello, I heard the fscking thing taking pictures of my ear.....

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26908457)

Yeah but will it still pocket Dial?

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907249)

I am sure I won't look like an idiot Hey, you already look like a schizophrenic when you walk down the street talking loudly into the bluetooth headset that nobody can see... how can you possibly look any worse twisting your phone around when you want to take a picture? Perhaps the cell phone manufacturers are just trying to avoid being mandated to produce a loud "shutter" noise every time you snap a digital pic -- a feature I'm sure people that take snaps of animals will absolutely love.

Re:Great (1)

kaosfury (1276794) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907741)

Why is this scored as Troll? He has a good point.

Re:great for checking who is calling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907767)

but now it's a camera

Re:Great (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907803)

Yes, I know it's 1pm.

I don't live in your time zone, you insensitive clod!

Re:Great (2, Funny)

AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908601)

laf. from the article:

Unfortunately, the disparate demands of the individual interfaces has remained a barrier to complete convergence.

yes its shocking that the interfaces of camera and phone have not suddenly become identical simply because of the possibility to sell them in the same enclosure. *gasp*

Re:Great (2, Interesting)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#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 (5, Funny)

PuckSR (1073464) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908633)

I agree...

Have you heard about the new computer interface devices called "mice"? They try to interface with a computer via movement of the device across a flat surface rather than just typing in a command. Absolutely useless, and I bet they don't work worth a crap

"There is no evidence that people want to use these things."--John Dvorak(discussing the computer mouse)

Useless and silly technology!

iPhone accelerometer (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909325)

That's my experience as well: the iPhone accelerometer is useless and a nuisance.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909445)

(like with iPhone switching portrait/lansdcape mode)

One of my first experiences with an iPhone was a coworker trying to show me a picture of their son. They'd taken the picture with a different camera, held sideways, so it showed up sideways on the screen. So he rotated the phone. And the iPhone obliged by rotating the picture 90 degrees so that his kid was still sideways.

Needless to say, I was deeply impressed. ;)

Here come the shower pics. (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907139)

I can't wait for teen girls & college women to carry their "bar of soap" into the shower, and while washing accidently press the "take picture" and "send" buttons.

Of course most women do that anyway. They've created a whole new category called "mirror teens".

Re:Here come the shower pics. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907693)

However it was mistaken as a bar of soap. You will either a black screen as the skin has blocked all the light. Or the shower stall.

Re:Here come the shower pics. (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908777)

People generally don't talk on the cell phone when they shower... and if you have a camera with you in the shower/bathroom, something funny is going on already.

Beyond making it far to noisy to hear (or be heard), most cell phones don't do well in the presence of water.

Better (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907159)

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."

And what's the advantage over using a single "surface sensor" (i.e. a button)?

Re:Better (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907357)

And what's the advantage over using a single "surface sensor" (i.e. a button)?

It's more hip ;)

Re:Better (1)

Wildflowers (1480921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907769)

It's definitely cooler.

I'm curious (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907167)

In what position do I need to hold it in order for it to know that I want it to vibrate instead of making noise when somebody calls?

what if? (5, Insightful)

sl0ppy (454532) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907201)

what if i want to take a picture of something in front of me, on my desk, while i am sitting down. i've actually done this a few times, so it's not too much to ask.

hopefully there will be an easy override button i can press?

sometimes gadgets try too hard to be "smart", and end up infuriating the end users.

Re:what if? (4, Insightful)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908297)

Quite. Not to mention that if you ask a teenager to mime "taking a picture", they'll probably mime holding an object in portrait orientation and pressing a button on the side nearest them. Whereas twenty/thirtysomethings will probably mime pressing a button on the top of something in landscape orientation, and forty-and-up-somethings will probably mime holding something up to their eye.

Re:what if? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908803)

... and the rest of us will just say it, and refrain from gesticulating like a mental patient.

Joy (5, Insightful)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907211)

Please god, no. I already curse my iPod Touch frequently enough when it decides how to rotate the screen for me. For example, ever try web surfing while lying down? What I wouldn't give for a "lock screen orientation" button.

Re:Joy (3, Funny)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907377)

What I wouldn't give for a "lock screen orientation" button.

If you needed such a button then Steve Jobs would have provided it for you. Clearly you aren't using your iPod in the correct manner ;)

Re:Joy (1)

tomcode (261182) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909077)

That's so intuitive, I won't even bother explaining it to you.

Re:Joy (1)

solune (803114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907713)

Wow. Every time I hear something else about the iPhone I feel even better about not getting one when I had the chance

Re:Joy (1)

hobbit (5915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908173)

Ditto. Although I'd rather have a status setting that would cause the OS only to signal a change in orientation after a "shakedown" in the new direction (like a sort of directional shake, such as you would make if you were trying to get wet sand to collect at the bottom of a glass).

Too smart phone (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907227)

No matter how smart this phone is, you still shouldn't drop it in the shower.

Re:Too smart phone (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908035)

I can think of several reasons someone might want to do that. At the very least it would help you make better shock sites like Goatse.

that's going to make for some interesting goofs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907233)

Talk about an utterly subjective and intuitive line of guesswork.
Some will be obvious 99% of the time, others it'll be random guesswork on the part of the device as it won't know what it's relationship is to the rest of your body and the world. Just imagine trying to take pictures from odd positions. (around the corner, from your purse so he doesn't notice, etc.)

It will absolutely need a manual override or there are going to be a lot of strange mistakes.

Re:that's going to make for some interesting goofs (1)

Mozk (844858) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907351)

The article quotes 70% accuracy, which means it doesn't work once every three times you use it, or 90% if trained.

Engineers from MIT intend to solve this problem by allowing the device itself to work out what you intend.

And since when did computers start doing what they think I want and not what I tell them to do?

Re:that's going to make for some interesting goofs (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908565)

Take the 'I' out of your perspective and think in terms of general population, who do not want total control over their devices and would actually like a bit of "mind-reading." Maybe then the potential future uses would be clearer.

Or maybe not - you're on Slashdot, so you may have the fairly typical "I hate any interface newer than 1970" thing that happens around here.

Oblig. tag (2, Funny)

Eudial (590661) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907257)

Why isn't this tagged "dontdropthesoap"?!

Needs work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907275)

From the article:

However this method does have its downside. Because of the varying ways people hold devices, it's only accurate 70% of the time, though this figure hits 90% if the Bar of Soap is trained with a specific user.

So even if it's "trained" with me, it will exhibit the incorrect operation 10% of the time.
This device needs a fair bit of improvement before it's marketable.

Alternate application... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907309)

Now what would be really interesting is if they added a mode that responded as such:

a. Phone rotated 90 degrees such that the lens is pointing toward the sky

b. Phone senses me taping it to my shoe

c. Phone takes snapshots every few seconds.

I'm an avid Upskir^H^H^H^H^H^H shoe-point-of-view sky photographer. It would really make my life easier.

And what about... (4, Insightful)

thesolo (131008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907323)

If you want or need to take a picture/video discreetly? Now you're stuck holding it way out in front of you, giving away the fact that you're filming/taking photos?

I've snapped photos and video before by keeping the phone up against my ear like I was on the phone, but aiming the lens at the subject and tapping the button on the side of the phone. I know other people have done the same to film their local police using a taser on someone. If the cops know you're filming, they're likely to try to take your cell.

Re:And what about... (-1, Flamebait)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907485)

Yes, we know this is going to seriously impede the expansion of your collection of up-skirt pics, but it is all in the name of progress, ok? This is but a single step in the long development of a true "Do-what-I-want-not-what-I-say" user interface. Perhaps you can re-program it to switch to camera mode when the camera lens is pointing straight up...

Re:And what about... (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907911)

On the one hand, I think this is a pretty useless "feature", likely to cause more trouble than it solves. (By that I mean, I think it's likely to cause quite a bit of trouble when it mis-interprets what I want it to do, and I don't think it solves anything at all.)

But on the other hand, I see several of these "what if I want to do X or Y with it?" questions... and to me the answer is pretty obvious: If you want to do X or Y, this isn't the gadget you should use to do it. That isn't what this thing does. Not every invention has to be useful for every application.

What's so bad about... (1)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907331)

...pushing a button on the side of the phone to switch to camera mode?

Isn't this kind of a like a Rube Goldberg device?

Potential for fail... (2, Insightful)

reality-bytes (119275) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907361)

Okay, so not epic fail, but a bit of a potential fail if they manage to come up with yet another phone which despite having a really cool feature where it can change modes just due to it's orientation.... it still takes a bloody eternity to switch modes.

Perhaps I'm the only one. Perhaps everybody else's phone can go from dial-a-pizza to 6-gigapixel with motion-stabilisation in 0.001 seconds but every handset I've tried has something between an annoying and an interminable wait before the thing actually starts functioning like something approximating a camera.

If I really cared about taking reasonable quality photos on the spur of the moment, I think I'd still carry a dedicated digital camera.

Re:Potential for fail... (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908171)

I was telling one of my co-workers that my eventual plan is to buy a new thin point-and-shoot, and a digital SLR, and carry the point-and-shoot everywhere, then take the SLR if I knew I was going to be taking photos.

He reaches behind him, pulls a strap over his head, and sets a pretty expensive-looking SLR on the table. "I carry this around with me wherever I go. I didn't think I was going to be taking any photos today, so I don't have my lens bag with me."

Re:Potential for fail... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26908445)

true. monday I've tried to take e photo of an ambulance cutting. traffic over some rails running along the road and failed due to Corners startup time

Finding Reception (2, Interesting)

Maladius (1289924) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

horrible idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907469)

How am I going to take pictures of women's cleavage while pretending to text NOW?

What if you want pictures of shoes? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907509)

If for some reason you want to use your phone or camera in positions or ways that might be confused for other uses? How would the phone work in zero-G? Nice idea, but I hope you get your patent fees back...

Re:What if you want pictures of shoes? (1)

plutoXL (1314421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907963)

How would the phone work in zero-G?

Is that your usual prerequisite when purchasing a mobile phone?

Re:What if you want pictures of shoes? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908235)

He doesn't have to be an astronaut to find that a valid question. Maybe he's a skydiver?

If its over my head.. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907599)

Will it show a picture of a brick on the display?

Idea for a useful app (1)

jasonw754 (141591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907619)

I already have an idea for a useful app for a phone with 72 surface sensors that can detect the position of the user's hand - detect the size of the hand and if considerably smaller than an average adult-sized hand, immediately lock all functionality.

Re:Idea for a useful app (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908257)

I have freakishly small hands, you insensitive clod!

Kids don't want to hold a phone like a camera. (5, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 5 years ago | (#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.

Re:Kids don't want to hold a phone like a camera. (1)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908141)

Did your brother ride the "special" bus by chance?

Re:Kids don't want to hold a phone like a camera. (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909363)

c'mon, everyone knows that when you're taking photos for your myspace, portrait mode is preferable.

Can it detect you drunk-dialing and lock the keys? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907687)

That would be incredibly useful.

I don't get it (1)

jkorz (1088471) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907699)

They are going to turn a regular apple usb mouse into a phone?

This will suck... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907765)

This will suck for people who like to take portrait-oriented photos more than landscape photos.

Also, last I checked, my mouth was not on my neck directly below either of my ears.

Reception Problems (1)

strimpster (1074645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907787)

I can see a problem if you are trying to get service for your phone, but every time you hold it up and away from your body to try to get better reception it goes into camera mode. Come on now, I can't be the only one that does that lol...

How about... (1)

Twillerror (536681) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907789)

a phone that doesn't drop calls...or if it does try to reinstate the call automatically.

I'm all up for all these gadgets and gizmos, but I really want the phone part of my phone to get some priority.

If the phone is in my pocket automatically put it on vibrate. Or if it detects loud noise like a car radio change the ringer.

Cost Cutting over-engineered devices (1)

solune (803114) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907879)

72 Touch sensors = 1 (or 2) light sensors by the ear-piece.
When the ear speaker receives insufficient light, it's a phone.
A front-mounted light sensor, mounted near the lens, perhaps, acts as control. If intensity doesn't match, phone, if yes, camera, screen comes on.

Re:Cost Cutting over-engineered devices (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909541)

Most people I know don't put the phone to their ear until after they've dialed.

please no (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26907891)

As a former user of the first-generation T-Mobile Sidekick, a mobile phone with dimensions extremely similar to a Dove bar (soap not icecream), I hope this concept is not adopted by phone manufacturers.

That thing was a joy to thumb-type on, but as a telephone it sucked donkey rocks.

Re:please no (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908981)

Thankfully, Dove is not soap so I guess we have nothing to worry about.

Track This You War Mongers: +3, Helpful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26907985)

or maybe to sense a grenade [youtube.com] toss.

Take my Auto Loan, Please !

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout

camera OR phone? (1)

nautsch (1186995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908029)

What if i want a phone without a camera?? What will it do if I hold it like a camera?

Dear mobile phone producers. Forget the camera thing. Build phones.

Wow! (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908169)

SO much more practical than, say, pushing a button.

A solution looking for a problem (1)

Zouden (232738) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908201)

On most phones, you can activate the camera with one button press. How, then, is it better to use "a three-axis accelerometer and 72 surface sensors"?

Wake me when it's a watch (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908203)

I refuse to buy a new watch, or a new cellphone or digital camera, until the day that a cheap one appears that is all three.

Having to carry yet another thing that can be easily lost is just an accident waiting to happen.

Dick Tracy had it right.

Best ever design (2, Interesting)

know1 (854868) | more than 5 years ago | (#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:Best ever design (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908477)

Shit, i meant where, not wierd. Owned by predictive text

Most of the newer smartphones can do that already. (3, Insightful)

zullnero (833754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908555)

Quite a few that are in production or are set to be released utilize almost the exact same technology to reorient their screens and do a whole lot of other things. It doesn't take much to use that same accelerometers to do the exact same things that the article is talking about. The reason a lot of companies haven't gone quite as far as these researchers have is because enabling that by default is kind of a nuisance in practice. But it wouldn't be a bad option for some if they were used to it and wanted to minimize button/tapping/navigational interaction.

Re:Most of the newer smartphones can do that alrea (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908781)

See post above yours called best design ever

I can see this one coming... (2, Funny)

limekiller4 (451497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908571)

ZzZzz...

ring
ring

*yawn. [fumble for cell on nightstand.] "Hello?"

*snap snap snap

"What the...??" [pressing "send" by accident]

Now naked pics of my wife are all over the internets. Great.

Does this mean.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26908695)

I can't take pictures of my ... ehh.. FEET? I do love taking pictures of my feet and monitoring their GROWTH.

Seriously silly.

Bah... (1)

Murpster (1274988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908723)

I'm holding out for one of these. According to a TV show in 1997, it will be(en) invented by next year. http://www.openthefuture.com/images/globallink-readius.jpg [openthefuture.com]

Re:Bah... (1)

Murpster (1274988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26908847)

I should say I mean the device on the left, which is a (just about real these days) fictional device from "Earth: Final Conflict" and not the goofy e-book reader on the right.

Note to software developers (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909171)

Until you've perfected mind reading, please stop assuming you know what I'm trying to do At the very least, please provide a "no second guessing" mode. Microsoft, this especially means you.

What about *those* photos. (1)

PaganRitual (551879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909307)

If I'm aiming the phone straight up in the air, can it tell if I've lowered the phone much closer to the ground? And that there is reduced light where I'm aiming? Just curious.

Although on the plus side, when you're busted, without touching anything you can bring the phone up as you would be normally talking and go "Look, it's in phone mode, don't know what you're talking about. Nice dress."

Ugh... (1)

Cam42 (1459387) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909721)

Can you imagine "hey man, that's a cool phone" "yeah check out the touch screen!" *holds up phone* *Phone switches to camera mode* "Oh crap." *Next day* "Hey man, wanna take a picture of this cool rock?" *turns phone down 90Degrees* *phone switches to text mode* "Oh, great" Thanks, guys. This is exactly what I want to happen.

Only a three-axis accelerometer? (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26909891)

I guess that makes it useless to the working time-travelor, then.

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