One of the hacks at Disrupt NY’s Hackathon this year employed hardware startup Leap Motion’s new 3D gesture controller, which unfortunately just ran into a delay. Leap Motion’s issues aside, this project, the combined effort of Chao Huang, Cedrich Pinson and Jorge Martinez, brings a Facebook Home-style experience to the desktop.
With “Leap in Time,” Leap Motion is used to navigate through a Facebook timeline via hand gestures that are intended to be as natural and intuitive as possible. You swipe left and right to go through photos and posts, and there’s inertia built-in to make it feel even more immersive. Then there’s a motion to pause and focus on a particular piece of content, with a palm outward gesture, and you can simply make a thumbs up to like a post.
Working with the Leap Motion was fairly simple, the team said, but does seem to experience difficulty with some environment issues like changing lighting conditions. It’s also crucial to maker sure that the Leap Motion app you’re building is cued to pay attention to certain things at certain times and to ignore specific motions in different settings. You have to cue the app to not pay attention to sideways hand waving when you want it to be able to recognize the thumbs up, for instance.
The hack was surprisingly smooth given that it was built in fewer than 24 hours, and Huang said there’s plenty more they could do given more time, but they wanted to focus on what they considered the core Facebook experience. The project is also reminiscent of a recent concept design making the rounds of a Facebook Home app for Windows 8.
Leap in Time is a simple enough implementation of Leap Motion, but it does act as a pretty solid example of how gesture control might actually work well for navigating apps and software that we use every day. I know that Leap Motion is eager to get as much software as possible into Airspace, the app store for the controller, but this team said they weren’t sure whether they’d actually pursue this any further.
We already knew that that Windows Blue, Microsoft’s forthcoming OS update that will put the Windows platform on a low-cost, yearly update schedule, was scheduled to launch sometime later this year. Now, we’re seeing the first official mention of Windows Blue via a job posting on Microsoft’s careers site. The job is for a software development engineer who will join the “Core Experience team” to work on “most of what customer touch and see in the OS.” The first paragraph of the listing reads (relavent areas bolded for emphasis):
We’re looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE). The Core Experience features are the centerpiece of the new Windows UI, representing…
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Two years ago today, when Windows 1.0 celebrated its 25th birthday, we didn’t yet know what the future of Windows would hold. Now that Windows 8 is on the market, the original is more relevant than ever before. Today, Windows 1.0 turns 27, and despite the many ways computing has changed since its debut, the two operating systems have some surprising similarities. Let’s take a look at just how far we’ve come since Windows 1.0… and where Microsoft is retracing its own footsteps with the latest version of Windows.
On November 10th, 1983, Microsoft announced Windows. For $ 99, it came with a notepad, calendar, clock, cardfile, terminal application, file manager, a game of Reversi, Windows Write, and Windows Paint. The original press…
Microsoft is pushing out a variety of updates to its SkyDrive service today. Applications for OS X and Windows have been updated to include a new selective sync feature, allowing users to sync specific folders across different devices. An often requested feature, SkyDrive selective sync is particularly useful if you don’t want a large folder to sync down to a laptop you own.
Sharing has also been improved on the SkyDrive desktop apps, with a right-click menu that lets you share or view a document on SkyDrive.com. Microsoft is also updating its Windows Phone 8 and Android apps today. The Windows Phone 8 version includes updates to the visual appearance and the ability to search for files and folders alongside improved controls for photo…
Mid-September is a busy time of year in the world of design as the Solar Decathlon Europe takes place in Madrid and the London Design Festival kicks off — and Inhabitat has correspondents on the ground at both events bringing us a steady stream of photos and updates. At the Solar Decathlon, Team Portugal designed an innovative house that can actually rotate to follow the sun in order to increase energy production and adjust interior daylighting. Team Valencia developed a modular home that can grow or contract depending on the family’s needs. And the team from Tongji University produced an eye-catching house that embraces both Western and Daoist principles. In the competition, Rome’s super-efficient MED in Italy house jumped out to an early lead — but it’s still too soon to call the winner so stay tuned.
The Jembe wired speakers have been out on the market since late last year, but now JBL’s finally introducing a cordless variant of these sleek desktop noisemakers. Aside from being Bluetooth-friendly at last, the pair’s retaining its “stylish weave design” and adding a Harman TrueStream sound technology that wasn’t found on the lesser-priced, cabled Jembe set — this, naturally, while still utilizing a 3.5mm headphone jack as the main input source. JBL’s pricing the new Jembe speakers at $ 99 in the US and £70 (about $ 110) for UK folks, with the company set to be taking orders as we speak. For that, however, you’ll have to virtually land on either of the links below — otherwise you can always go with those eccentric (and rather intimidating) Edifier Spinnakers.
Splashtop has long focused on providing remote desktop applications for Android tablets and iPads, and now that Windows 8 is nearly upon us it has seen fit to release a similar solution for the tablet-friendly OS. The app — naturally called Splashtop Remote Desktop — should function just like its Android and iOS brethren and allow you to view, control, and modify your Windows or Mac over the web. The free companion streaming software is only available for Windows XP or greater or Mac OS X 10.6 or newer, and you’ll need to set up your computer with a static IP address for the app to be able to connect and give you control. The Windows 8 app is currently just a consumer preview version, so it’s not clear what features — if any —…
With Splashtop currently holding spots in a slew of Android slabs, Cupertino’s notorious iDevices and even HP’s cadaverous TouchPad, the next obvious step was to set up its Remote Desktop shop inside Redmond’s upcoming Windows 8. And smartly enough, that’s exactly what Splashtop’s done. In preparation for the eventual release of Microsoft’s tile-friendly OS in a couple of months, the service has let it be know that its new (and very handy) tablet application’s now ready to take advantage of the system’s native gestures while doing what it does best — which is giving remote access to both Mac and Windows PCs. Given its “consumer preview” status, the Splashtop app isn’t fully cooked just yet, but it should give anyone a good idea of what to expect once the real deal becomes available.
Oh Google. Sometimes you’re so awesome.
Google search has long featured a built-in calculator function but a recent update added a fully functional 34-button scientific calculator. Previously, when a user entered, say, 2+2, Google would simply display the sum above the search result. Now, when that equation is entered into the search bar, the answer pops up along with the new calculator. Best of all, this works in mobile browsers and voice search, too.
This isn’t a stripped down calculator, either. It’s a full-power, voice-enabled scientific calculator with nearly all the functions of a tangible model. Plus, it doesn’t require two AAA batteries. A Google Product Manager pointed out in this post’s comments that the scientific functions appear when the phone is rotated to be viewed in a landscape mode.
This calculator even works with Desktop Voice Search. Simply click the little mic icon and state the equation; it works with both “what is the square root of 30?” and “square root of 30.” Or, to launch the calculator itself, say “calculator”. It seems to stumble on long, complex equations (or maybe I’m saying them wrong), but in the right situation, this voice-powered calculator could be rather valuable.
This is just Google’s latest addition to its nerdy toolbox. The search bar already performed graphing functions. Now, with Google, Wolfram Alpha, and the sheer number of apps out there, there really isn’t any excuse for not being able to finish your math homework.Related Posts: