Portable Computing

Two quick links about UI concepts for small portable computers such as the iPhone.

Detecting Distinct Fingers

I found this via Chris Clark: lukew.com has an article on new sensors that might be coming to the iPhone. This one is particularly interesting:

Fingerprints have already been used in computers for security purposes, but Apple’s research involves the use of fingerprint patterns to actually identify distinct fingers. This could then be used to produce specific functions depending on which finger is being used.

The iPhone’s multitouch screen is a very limited input device. Being able to differentiate between different fingers might have useful applications in UI design.

Augmented Reality

Portable devices with a GPS, a compass and a camera can augment the picture taken by the camera with information on the things seen in the picture. This can be used to show directions to a place, to add information about landmarks, or even for videogames that take place in the real world. Here’s an example of an app for the iPhone 3GS that shows London Underground stations:

Layar is a similar Augmented Reality system for Android phones.

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designed for use cover

But wait, there's more!

Want to read more like this? Buy my book's second edition! Designed for Use: Create Usable Interfaces for Applications and the Web is now available DRM-free directly from The Pragmatic Programmers. Or you can get it on Amazon, where it's also available in Chinese and Japanese.