Sensor sleeve makes tablet use easier and benefitial for disabled children

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Pinch-zoom is a godsend (and shouldn’t be patent-able) and although we mourn the loss of a physical keyboard on a lot of device we use a tablet nearly as often as we do a full computer. But the touch screen interface is not open to everyone. Those who lack full dexterity of their digits will find the interface frustrating at best or completely unusable at worst. A team of researchers from the Atlanta Pediatric Device Consortium came up with a way to control touch-screen tablets with a sensor array that mounts on your arm.

The project — called Access4Kids — looks not only to make tablet use possible, but to use it as a means of rehabilitation. The iPad seen above is running a custom app designed for use with the sensor sleeve. The interface is explained in the video after the break. Each sensor can serve as an individual button, but the hardware can also process sequential input from all three as a swipe in one direction or the other. If they can get the kids interested in the game it ends up being its own physical therapy coach by encouraging them to practice their upper body motor skills.

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Electronically controlled NFC tag

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[Per] is replacing his car stereo with a Nexus 7 tablet. It’s a great modification to add GPS, navigation, and a good music player, but [Per] wanted to pause his tunes and tell the tablet to go to sleep with an NFC tag. This means building a an NFC tag he can turn on and off, an interesting problem to say the least.

The easiest way to do this is with a CMOS switch, but a chip like a 74HC4066 is overkill for a project this simple. What [Per] needed was a single CMOS switch, something he found and fabbed a board for.

Now, with a press of a button, [Per] can activate his NFC tag and pause the music in his new stereo. Check out the video of this electronically controllable tag after the break.

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Tablet rig takes sheet music digital

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[Bill Dudley’s] wife wanted to use a couple of different tablets for displaying sheet music. Sure, a proper music stand will have no trouble supporting the weight of the device, but if it’s not secured it place you may soon have a broken device. [Bill’s] solution was to build this tablet stand out of PVC.

The image above doesn’t tell the entire story of how he did this. But if you look really closely you’ll notice that the pipe is actually acting as a frame rather than a cradle. After measuring, cutting, and gluing all of the components together he cut a channel around the inside of the u-shaped PVC frame. The channel is the exact thickness of the tablet and holds the device securely. A base from a music stand makes up the rest of the rig.

Pages can be turned using a USB foot pedal. This is fantastic for gigging musician who use digital music collections like the Real Book.

Chromium on the Nexus7

[Hexxeh] is at it again, porting the chromium OS to whatever seems to appear in front of him. This time he’s ported it to the Nexus 7. Last time we saw him, he was raspberry chomping at the pi. The details are very scarce, so we would like to issue this request.

[Hexxeh] we realize you don’t think your every-day-joe would be up to the task of putting chromium on their nexus 7. This is Hackaday however, and we know that at least a few of our readers would LOVE to join you in your efforts and could possibly contribute to your fun. Share some details with us… please.

You can see a video of it in action after the break.

 

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OLPC tablet distribution proves concepts laid out in ‘The Diamond Age’

We don’t remember hearing about the One Laptop Per Child initiative distributing tablet computers but apparently a couple of shipments were distributed to rural communities in Ethiopia. The problem one might think of in this scenario is that the literacy rate in the two test villages was basically zero. But that’s exactly the population targeted with thr technology. The tablets were loaded with a software package called Nell. It was designed to guide a child in self learning by telling them engaging stories that include teachable moments. If you check out the white paper (PDF) you’ll find it’s pretty much the exact same teaching technique that [Neal Stephenson] wrote about in his book The Diamond Age. But keep reading that paper and you’ll see that this is because the researchers took their inspiration from that very novel.

Well the results are in and apparently [Neal] knows exactly what he is talking about. Not only did the children learn from the software, but within five months they were hacking the device (which runs Android) to get the disabled camera working.

[Thanks Alexander via Dvice]

Tablet interacts with magnets, how does that work?

Making computers interact with physical objects is a favorite of the HCI gurus out there, but these builds usually take the form of image recognition of barcodes or colors. Of course there are new near field communication builds coming down the pipe, but [Andrea Bianchi] has figured out an easier way to provide a physical bridge between computer and user. He’s using magnets to interact with a tablet, and his idea opens up a lot of ideas for future tangible interfaces.

Many tablets currently on the market have a very high-resolution, low latency magnetometer meant for geomagnetic field detection. Yes, it’s basically a compass but Android allows for the detection of magnets, and conveniently provides the orientation and magnitude of magnets around a tablet.

[Andrea] came up with a few different interfaces using magnets. The first is just a magnets of varying strengths embedded into some polymer clay. When these colorful magnetic cubes are placed on the tablet, [Andrea]’s app is able to differentiate between small, medium, and large magnets.

There are a few more things [Andrea]’s app can do; by placing two magnets on an ‘arrow’ token, the app can detect the direction in which the arrow is pointing. It’s a very cool project that borders on genius with its simplicity.

You can check out [Andrea]’s demo video after the break.

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Hacked Kobo Becomes a Weather Display

The Kobo e-reader has been hacked for a while now. It’s pretty easy to enable telnet access by modifying some files. Once [Kevin] was able to telnet into the device and draw to the display, he created the Kobo Wifi Weather Forecast. This hack was inspired by the Kindle weather display that we discussed in the past, but this version runs entirely on the Kobo.

The weather report software is written in Python using the pygame library. After loading the software package onto a Kobo, a few commands are run over telnet to set up Python and run the display. Since Python and pygame run on the Kobo, it allows for direct access to the e-ink display.

There’s a lot of possibilities for a internet connected e-ink device running custom graphics code. It’s asking to be turned into any kind of display you can imagine. What ideas do you have for a custom e-ink display? Let us know in the comments.