I want this: a thimble that turns everything it touches into a touch-sensitive screen, so you can use quick gestures to make things happen. Imagine going around the world, moving your finger like a magic wand, making things happen. You know, like Minority Report wave-in-the-air thimbles, but touch-based.
That's probably why the researchers call it the Magic Finger. It's made by Autodesk, the University of Alberta and University of Toronto.
It's really smart. Not only it senses your movements, but also knows what the surface is. You can use that ability to change the behaviour of your touch.
Some examples: if you swipe your finger across the t-shirt fabric over your heart, your phone will call your lover. Or if you swipe it across a product barcode, it will read it, triggering an automatic price comparison in Amazon. And if you do a different motion across that barcode, it will buy the product online. Or swipe it across the total amount of your restaurant bill to pay it.
The Magic Finger uses two cameras to work. One is a micro RGB camera that can see the texture of the material(or read a bar or QR code). The other one sense the motion. Pretty simple stuff that needs to be miniaturized to the almost-invisible point and turned into a product pronto. Actually, I want this built in my finger. [Discovery]