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The JediPad AKA Uber-gyro-mouse


[Samu] sent in his freaking awesome JediPad mouse creation. It’s got seven touch-point style mouse buttions, as well as a pair of gryroscope sensors. Each touch-point has it’s own micro-controller and the signals are input to the computer via USB. He’s looking for help, so shoot him an email if you’re interested.

Check out his demo video after the break.

Comments

  1. digitalFX says:

    Seems a little over-complicated, but a good start none the less. I’d be interested to see what becomes of this.

  2. Wolf says:

    Heres an idea, how about a car with three steering wheels to go with it…

    seriously though, what in gods name could you do with 7 track points that you couldn’t just do with one or two and a couple of shift keys?

    basically, the only advantage I can think of of this thing over a wiimote would be having both a joystick and a gyro controller in the same package, the other track points are just a waste of space.

  3. jaded says:

    Wolf,

    I can’t think of any either. But just because we lack imagination doesn’t mean it’s not worth his trying something new.

    What if he comes up with an ubercool application for it? Perhaps a half-dozen context-sensitive menus, one related to printing, one to editing, one to emailing, etc?

    Or how about zooming and painting? Picture this device wired into Photoshop or Illustrator. Zooming, rotating, selecting, cropping, color selection, each could be assigned its own button. I know I’d like to be able to control both horizontal and vertical scrolling while I’m in the middle of a left-click-drag operation and still need to navigate to the far side of the image. Perhaps this will be the tool to solve that problem.

    Or maybe 3D games will take advantage of this? Forget 2D input devices like joysticks and trackpads. How about controlling a fleet instead of a ship? Camera controls for shoot-‘em-ups? Fast weapon selection and targeting?

    No, you’re right. I can’t think of a single thing to do with a whole bunch of trackpoints.

  4. patrick says:

    I think the idea is great. In terms of using a circular menu, the muscle memory is much faster than having to read through a menu. I could see using the different trackpoint for different menu types (for example using one trackpoint to open the main windows menu displaying My Computer, Control Panel, etc). Anyway I applaud the effort to use circular HCI, very cool.

  5. Topolo says:

    Maybe it could be used for people with handicaps (I dont speak english well, sorry for the bad grammar) you know, quadraplegics or whatever they are called….. Is it me or it just looks like a fancy nunchuk (wiimote’s nunchuck)

  6. aztraph says:

    seven buttons, five fingers, kind of a lopsided formula. I think combining a gyroscopic function with a single hand keyboard strapped to your wrist would work ok. or even better, combining it with a virtual keyboard controlled by muscle movement like in http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2007/03/musclecontrol_gaming_for_mobil.php
    or http://www.mim.maschinenbau.tu-darmstadt.de/Downloads/Publikationen/CSUN05.pdf

  7. Jesse says:

    I’d like to know where he got the magnifying cursor!
    Good innovations though. Surprised he wasn’t using it with gaming. In my opinion that’s where stuff like this would be most useful.

  8. Skyler Orlando says:

    Gaming, or something like Second Life… If you could interface it with an sl client, it’d be cool.

  9. zat says:

    gotta go with the 7 buttons 5 fingers?!!? thing… but i am wondering how it would work as just a little board.. maybe give it a hill shape so that not all of the track points were at the exact same position but yea… and then set it on your desk and try that…

    *goes back to sleep*

  10. Samu says:

    Wow! I cannot say how surprised I was to find my pad on the main page. I still can’t believe it!

    Check out the wikis:
    http://www.sf7.scribblewiki.com/JediPad
    http://www.jpad.wikispaces.com
    theyre about as tidy as my room, but theres a lot of stuff there

    Kudos to Will for the article! and you guys for some great comments – some of you are really on the ball.. let me try to answer..

    #3 – Jaded: thanks for reading my mind. wana dev? :p

    #5: good point – I have made a couple of prototypes for this. sure – the technology can be recombined to give effective computer access to people with limited movements.

    #6: thanks for the links – I have been trying this approach as well but gave up trying to get the noise out of the electrode signals. great to see someone has taken this up.

    #7: I did all the code in C# using Visual Studio 2005. I lifted some really great code from codeproject.com, including the magnifier. I had to adapt it to do variable zoom and a few other things.

    #8: unfortunately my code chews up too much CPU to make it a realistic games Controller. so give it a year and yes, irkn it’ll make a kickass games controller!

    #6 & #9: OK, the ‘five fingers seven buttons’ people: hello? how many keys does the keyboard have? and 6 TrackPoints are beneath the thumb anyway.

    I am trying to illustrate how the thumb can be better used. motor control of the thumb occupies a bigger volume of the cortex than the fingers combined. This prototype serves to demonstrate that the thumb can easily reach any of six TrackPoints in an instant without looking. considering also that each could easily operate an 8- directional piemenu, that is 42 commands that are a single movement away. the thumb has two degrees of movement so it is perfect for operating piemenus. current interfaces ( mice and keyboards ) are crazy – two thumbs for one space bar?!!?!

    to be honest I just stuck them with the intention of mapping them later – gotta start somewhere. overkill? Yes massively – unfortunately I am stuck with this prototype until I get more thermoplastic, and TrackPoint units. my next prototype will only have one or two TrackPoints, together with some push buttons under the fingers. I am going to look at chording possibilities.

    keep the comments flowing!

    Samu

  11. krobinson5 says:

    you should look into using it with blacktree.com software like Quicksilver, Constellation, and Abracadabra. they are open source which really could make this fly!! good luck to you!

  12. krobinson5 says:

    I think it would really go well with constellation! that is if your a mac dev.

    http://lifehacker.com/software/exclusive-lifehacker-interview/quicksilvers-creator-on-the-future-of-qs-330548.php

  13. wang191 says:

    Did someone just seriously say 5 fingers 7 buttons??

    Every console gaming system out there has more buttons than we have fingers plus gyro control.

    By that logic we’d still be playing games with the first nintendo controller. Not that I mind because I personally like less buttons than I have fingers.

  14. Wolf says:

    jaded-

    What I mean is theres no real point to having multiple thumb track points because anything you could do with them (including all the functions you mentioned) could be done more easily with a single track point that’s function can be changed by holding down various shift buttons. Since you only have one thumb, theres no point in being able to perform multiple functions simultaneously, so you could cut it down to only one track point per controlling finger without loosing any functionality

    does that make sense?

    (if you still don’t get it, try playing assassins creed some time; you’ll see what I mean)

  15. Samu says:

    Wolf: you’re right of course – I will make a chording version as soon as I get more thermoplastic. I wanted to create a prototype that would let me play around with different combinations and possibilities. this is by no means a final version.

    there is maybe some benefit ( muscle memory ) of using different controls in different places. it would allow grouping of related functions.

    there are so many ways to combine these simple controls … it will take a lot of playing around before something optimal is found

    my next prototype will probably have one or two TrackPoints, and three buttons under the first and second fingers.

  16. Wolf says:

    Samu-

    It’s definitely a worth while experiment.

  17. xshawk says:

    what about 3D modeling…
    the more complex a modeled figure the more operators you need when you are doing 3D animation… awesome!
    wolf- you are right anything you can do with 6 points you can do with 1 point+function keys… but you’d have to use another hand to hit the function keys…
    this lets you do it all with one hand!
    freeing up the other (if there is one) to either input info or do any number of other tasks…
    I like it

  18. Inspirtech says:

    Yeah this would be very useful with a program like SolidWorks where you can control 6 axis of the part you are working on.

  19. despot says:

    How about an instrument, 6 of the 7 trackpoints could map to notes (as a standard guitar) varying y location of the mouse for frets. (a home-brew midi app would be a little difficult to code, but less tear on the fingers compared to a standard guitar. (not to mention the expandability of such a project) Good work sam! hope you find use for all your trackpoints.

  20. Samu says:

    #17 – xshawk: Actually you can chord with your fingers. Check out near the end of the vid, or check out the other vid. yes, other hand u could have another one, or a pen, or leave it free

    #18 – despot: sure! you might want a trackpoint under each digit for a music one, then you could map the analogs to controls in (eg) Reason and make crazy sounds. id map the gyro y axis to the pitch i think..

  21. Samu says:

    I have been waiting to see if anyone picks up on RSI. possibly the greatest benefit of this approach is that it encourages healthy movement by allowing the tendons to pass through the carpal tunnel in a straight line.

    also it can be used with the body in a relaxed state. keyboard forces the body into a state of tension, creating a lot of physiological problems. I plan to map all the common keyboard keys across. but not the letters/numbers: I want to integrate voice recognition to take care of this.

    I have bad RSI – so this project has been pretty tough for me to make, and why development is so slow. but that is why I made it in the first place. I cannot even type a paragraph without pain – I am using voice recognition for all my correspondence.

    if you are interested in bringing it to the next level, get in touch!!! http://sf7.scribblewiki.com/JediPad_Resources
    Here’s the various things that need doing!

    Samu

  22. Andrew says:

    i really like the idea and it seems to work very well.

    the only thing to me is that the thing itself is quite ugly looking,
    maybe refining it abit would make it good.

  23. MRE says:

    14: all fine and dandy for the 80 percent of us who have all five didgets on both hands.

    What about the poor schlep who is missing a lefty.. so.. this guy/girl is excluded from gaming just because they are a gimp?

    Nice. real nice.

  24. Samu says:

    >all fine and dandy for the 80 percent of us who have all five didgets on both hands.

    80%? mate.. where do you live, texas??? yes i made this particular device for those fortunate enough to posess opposable thumbs :)

  25. inedible says:

    Lesser known fact: One out of every five Americans is missing a finger.

  26. iisjreg says:

    This isn’t being marketed as the end-all of input devices. “Oh, it’s useless, because some people can’t see…”
    I think it’s a brilliant contraption. I even lold at the overkill, it does look so sci-fi. Combine this with the VR display the other day and you have the future, haha!

  27. pmac says:

    samu: if you need a micro that has more horsepower check out the Parallax Propeller. It has 8 x 20 mips cores. very handy beast.
    http://www.parallax.com/propeller. also has excellent user forums.

    kudos for ideas and experiment, wish i could help but can’t even find the time and money for my own hobbies.

  28. Raven says:

    Well im only 16 and I see alot of potent in this, honestly if you could figer a way to make a 2nt processer for this then it wouldent lag the cpu at all on the computer itself thus making a unit that is much more fast to use for such as gaming as said “controll a ship or a fleet?” and insted of useing the plastic that you are try useing ( i know this may sound stupid) playdoe becouse you can change shape perfeticly to your hand and also its much more easy to make custom for everyone it takes mabe overnight to dry and thus perm you said its only prototypes right then use prototype material but as for myself I would love to learn how to do this but as knowing me its beond my knowings at the time but very nice start!

  29. Raven says:

    also I forgot to enclude in my earlyer comment where do you find the trackpointers your useing? i would be intrested in useing theese for a project I will be doing soon

  30. Kevin Conti says:

    I really like this idea, I could really see this technology being adapted into something more effective and less invasive, like being fitted to a glove or anything that could connect directly to the hand, it would be a HUGE step forward in computer control.

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