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Easy touch

作者:楚歪    发布时间:2019-03-08 03:20:04    

By Peter Hadfield in Tokyo ANNOYED by the clutter of mice and keyboards on his desk, a researcher at the Sony Computer Science Laboratories in Tokyo has devised a quick and easy way to move files from one computer to another without touching either a mouse or a keyboard. Instead, he uses a pen-like device to “lift” a file icon off one computer screen and transfer it to another. The file itself is then automatically transferred between the two computers over a network. “I first thought of this when I was using three computers on my desk at the same time,” says the researcher, Jun Rekimoto. “There were three different mice on the desk and I kept getting confused as to which mouse went with which screen.” The answer he’s come up with, called pick-and-drop technology, is designed for a future generation of computers that will use the interactive screens now common on palmtops, which allow users to write on them with a pressure-sensitive pen. The pen-and-screen combination used by Sony is a commercial product made by Japanese company Wacom. Behind the screen is a lowpower radio transmitter linked to a microprocessor. As the pen approaches the screen, a coil inside it interferes with the transmitted signal. By working out where the interference is coming from, the microprocessor works out the position of the pen on the screen. But the pen is also identifiable: buttons on the side of the pen can be pushed to alter the length of the coil and its interference pattern, which changes the ID. In Sony’s system, tapping the pen onto a file icon links the pen’s identity code to the file. Then, when the pen is tapped against the screen of another computer on the same network, the network server notes the pen’s identity code, looks to see which file icon it last touched, and transfers that file to the new computer. The icon immediately appears on the screen of the second computer. Files can either be copied or cut and pasted in this way. The system should be especially useful for people such as stock market traders and television editors, who regularly use two or more computers. But Rekimoto says pick-and-drop could prove its worth in any office where people need to exchange files, and for people preparing lectures and presentations. A speaker could connect his or her laptop computer to a large interactive display screen, known as a digital whiteboard, and transfer text, video clips and other data from it to the whiteboard with the touch of a pen. Sony’s prototype has been developed on Mitsubishi palmtop computers, which are equipped with Wacom’s interactive LCD screens. The company admits it is not ready to commercialise the idea. “A lot of decisions have to be made about an application for the technology,” says Sony spokesman Daniel Lintz. “It takes time to transfer these kinds of technologies to the development stage.” As part of the development process,

 

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