FeelTip: tactile input device for small wearable information appliances
The ever decreasing size of information devices these days does not allow even the space for small input devices such as a touchpad or a 3x4 keypad. We introduce here an input device, FeelTip, as a solution for very small information devices. The main idea is to exchange the usual roles of a finger and a surface in a touchpad; a device has a tip and a finger now provides a surface. The result is an input device requiring minimal space but is potentially more efficient than a touchpad due to the tactile feedback of a tip on a finger. Our first prototype consists of a transparent tip and a small CMOS image sensor that tracks the movement of a finger on a tip. In a series of experiments, it outperformed a small analog joystick in free pointing tasks, and was comparable with a 3x4 keypad in text entry tasks.
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