You know you have some interesting technology on your hands (well, fingers) when you manage to make Minority Report look outdated. Engineers at Autodesk Research are showing off a proof-of-concept Magic Finger, which is a tiny device that turns virtually any surface into a touch pad. The Finger uses a micro camera and an optical flow sensor to detect motion and identify surfaces. As small as your finger tip, the device attaches with a thin strip of Velcro. You can swipe, pinch, and tap any surface just as you would a laptop touch pad or a tablet’s screen.
The Magic Finger is useful for situations in which a normal touchpad isn’t easy to reach, but it also has some other interesting uses that go beyond an ordinary touch pad. Autodesk researchers point to the Magic finger as a way to share data with other users (by touching fingertips).
They also suggest that data matrix barcodes could be used in advertisements – you touch the barcode with your Magic Finger and then touch another marker (the researchers use a shirt’s logo in their example) and the barcode’s link is stored for future use. You could conceivably wear your Magic Finger all day, using it to control your environment and manage communications wherever you go – if your environment is set up to work with the Magic Finger.