With gesture controls becoming more common in software and apps, it makes sense to maximise the size of a laptop's touchpad to facilitate more than just a couple of fingers. So researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed the Longpad, an oversized touchpad that's as wide as a keyboard and smart enough to ignore the user's hands when they're typing.
Instead of a capacitive surface that can't distinguish the skin on your fingertips from the skin on your elbow, the Longpad uses an array of thin infrared LEDs alongside light sensors that are able to detect the light bouncing back on them. By creating profiles of how different parts of the hand reflect the infrared light, the researchers are able to program the Longpad to ignore accidental touches from the palm and pad during typing, while still recognising and acknowledging gestures from the user's fingertips. [YouTube via New Scientist]