Interesting Ideas: AirType

AirType concept image.

I have a hard time shooting these concepts down because I actually do think this where the future of interface is going.

When the soft keyboard debuted with the iPhone in 2007, it was met with extreme skepticism. But over time we all got used to it. There’s an entire generation now that looks at a phone with a physical keyboard much like my generation would look at a 14.4k modem.

How long before our kids’ kids look at a any physical interface at all and laugh?

I’m just about to leap into my 40’s and I imagine the days of buttons are going to be replaced by our fingers dancing through the air long before I head to a nursing home.

Still, while I love the portability and the idea of concepts like AirType, I do wonder how long it would take for my keystroke accuracy to catch up to how fast I can type on a physical keyboard.

We shall see! Probably sooner than we think too! I look forward to finding out.

Interesting Ideas: “Knock to Unlock” software…

I’ve been using this for a little over a week now and while it does have some issues with the LE Bluetooth connection to my phone (iPhone5), periodically causing me to quit and relaunch both apps (on the Mac and iPhone)… I gotta admit, it’s pretty awesome when it works.

There is about a 10 second lag from when I open up my rMBP in sleep mode to when I am able to knock on my phone (yes, I timed it), but it actually seems much shorter than that. I imagine this would be quite handy for folks out there with iMacs that are always on, locked, with a screen saver. When my computer is sitting there, locked and at the ready? It works like a charm with no wait whatsoever.

Other things I noticed:

  1. People out there flipping out about knocking on an iPhone clearly don’t own one. You’d think they were hitting it with a damn baseball bat instead of the knuckles on your hand! Please calm down. You don’t have to knock that hard at all for it to work.
  2. The initial setup is a breeze once your computer recognizes and pairs with your phone.
  3. True to their site description, your phone’s battery life doesn’t take a hit at all. It is one of the first interesting (and awesome) uses of Bluetooth LE that I’ve seen to date.
  4. Check out their site: knocktounlock.com, there’s some fun stuff going on in there.
  5. Before you buy, make sure your computer and phone are compatible!
  6. If, for whatever reason, your computer doesn’t find your phone via BT, don’t worry, you can still type your password in. Though that admittedly will make you snicker and doubt your purchase.
  7. If this app doesn’t make you hunger for the day that NFC (near field communication) proliferates our lives and devices a bit more, I don’t know what will.

I really hope they continue development for this fun idea! As I said, when it works it’s a lot of fun to watch (not to mention it’s a legit time-saver)!

Sold!! Where do I get it?

  • For your Mac, it’s free here.
  • For iOS, you can find it here, for $3.99 USD.

Interesting Ideas: “Automatic – Your Smart Driving Assistant”

Automatic_Link_Car.58e119f5bc61

“Your Car and Smartphone, Connected

Just plug the Automatic Link into your car’s data port. Your car and smart phone
will automatically connect whenever you drive, wirelessly.”

This one has been making the rounds today and for good reason: there are so many awesome ideas at play here! Basically, “Automatic” is a hardware and iOS/Android software solution that connects to your smart phone to your car in a really ingenious way. Once connected, it gives you quite a bit of functionality! The complete list can be found here (just scroll down).

The top ones for me though are easily:

  • The way it connects to your car. It “…plugs into the same port your mechanic uses when you take your car in for service.” and it’s use of the low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 connection to conserve your phone’s battery life is really well thought out.
  • The geolocation of your car is always recorded in real-time. So no need to take a picture of the spot you parked in. The location can also be shared.
  • Accident/crash support. Contacting 911 with your location all the while texting loved ones once help has responded and is on the way, is pretty great.
  • Real-time reporting on engine lights (listing their cause) AND the ability to reset them. To me, this alone is totally worth the price of the service/hardware! $69.95 (!?!)

Check out the video below! It covers everything above and more.

As you can probably tell, I am smitten with this. Just a very, very interesting idea for a service. And it’s the implementation of it, that makes it so intriguing to me.

I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure there isn’t anything like it out there!
—–
Company:Automatic
All video and pictures were taken from Automatic’s own press material.

Film: Shane Curruth’s “Upstream Color”

I am a HUGE fan of Shane Curruth’s “PRIMER” and his next, “Upstream Color“, looks to be just as intriguing. Two teaser trailers were released in the last two weeks and both strike completely different tones. I have know idea what the film is about. All I know is that its imagery is stuck in my head and, for me anyways, that’s a good thing.

“Upstream Color” Teaser 1

“Upstream Color” Teaser 2

And, for old time’s sake, the Trailer for “PRIMER”:

Interesting Ideas: The LEAP

Saw this making the rounds today. Pretty interesting tech going on here! In a bunch of ways this is where I am hoping personal computing is going: less tactile and more fluid.

I like the idea of computer use being more an extension of natural human movement rather than all of us hunched in front of screens moving our hands repetitively until they ache and degrade.

Anyone out there know if this project is legit or not? They are taking preorders but, to be honest, the price ($75 with shipping) seems to good to be true. Also, I’m always suspect of video demos that could easily be doctored into a “proof of concept” rather than and actual demo of the hardware in use. That and their “Developers” tab is a dead link. Not a good sign.

Anyways, here’s the video. Hit me up on Twitter if you know anything about it! Might just have to order one! :D

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d6KuiuteIA]

UPDATE: This definitely is legit. CNN ran a bit on it and it’s been featured on just about every reputable Mac site on the planet (and then some). Pretty amazing stuff! Again, as I said above, the content of that video and the price point alone make me want to grab the ole plastic and hit up that preorder page they’ve got! Add in what appears to be a good amount of developer interest and it’s total win-win for us Mac owners!