Unusual case with physical buttons-modules

In our age of widespread digitalization, virtualization and sensorization of interfaces, receive quality

additions to touch displays physicalkeys and buttons, as well as scroll wheels - already seems like an unusual experience. It will be even more interesting when completely touchscreen smartphones without any physical buttons displace the current models.


The device in the form of a case provides a set ofmechanical widgets that extend the tactile experience and sensations from interacting with smartphones in comparison with the usual touch screen. The project was launched by two researchers - Karl Bayer, as well as Sri Nayar. Students from the USA (Columbia University) cooperate with them. The device has a number of empty slots in the case for inserting additional modular components into them. Components are scrollers as well as physical buttons. The case itself is also completely mechanical without the ability to connect via wireless interfaces, it is not even connected with a cable. The case interacts with the smartphone only at the expense of a sensitive gyroscope that transforms physical actions into specific commands.

When the user presses a physical key onsmartphone, caused a little noticeable movement, a slight vibration on the smartphone. A similar phenomenon always arises, and researchers used it in their project for widgets. These widgets create crisp vibratory movements when used. Each widget creates its own unique vibroprofile, and a special application recognizes it, analyzes and converts it to certain commands. It can be a variety of commands, from turning on the camera, zooming in, videoing, activating another application to calls.


It may seem that the use of this cover -it's pure fun for about five minutes; more, it is not good for anything. However, the video shows other uses. For example, you can easily manage a smartphone with this case with gloves and even mittens, which cannot be done with an ordinary smartphone. There is even an absolutely fantastic opportunity to turn a smartphone into a stylized virtual saxophone. A person, according to the authors of the project, is a sensitive, sensual being, and when we touch something, we want not only to know it, to understand it with the brain, but also to feel that something is happening at this moment.

But the cover with Vidgets also has its limitations, toFor example, it causes confusion in smartphone applications if suddenly two widgets are pressed at once (randomly or not). Such a cover will be useless for the time being in situations when conditions are unsuitable and there are a lot of garbage vibrations around, for example, we are inside a riding car. Shaking will be perceived by the application as an attempt to give certain commands, and will begin to activate certain functions.

The team has no plans to commercialize it.device for a smartphone, in any case, the case for this requires serious work. But as an exercise of curiosity - quite fit. At the same time they left materials, diagrams, drawings and models in the public domain, so that anyone can do something similar or more refined.

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