Ideas Using Mircosoft’s Products

Microsoft has been around since 1975 and since then has always been pushing the envelope for new ideas and products. Today they have tons of products in the both the software and hardware space targeting end consumers and businesses. The Mobile Lab would love to get their hands on some of these devices in order to make new cool innovations.

Windows Phone

First and foremost we are a Mobile Research Lab. Unfortunately, I am sad to say that no one in our group has had any experience with a Windows Phone. However, I am responsible for making Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich look more like this phone (check out the new favorite’s layouts http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2012/02/new-social-apis-in-android-ics.html). This means that Microsoft must be doing something right to help influence the designs of other major manufactures.

We would love to get our hands on some of these devices and explore exactly what they are doing, how they work, and figure out how we can continue innovation on them.


Surface 2.0

The Surface is a touch screen table PC that is about to change the world as we know it. It can not only do multi-touch, but with it’s Pixel Sense technology it can actually read papers. This is quickly shaping how people can collaborate on projects and exchange information. We have barley scratched the surface (no pun-intended) with ideas for this product.

  • 3-D Modeling : FSU has just received funding to build a huge 3-D printer that will run off recycled materials. Check out the wiki page (currently under developement) http://mmap.artsresearch.fsu.edu. Creating a program for the surface, or perhaps a plugin, that enables you to create 3-D models with your hands and art tools rather than a mouse and keyboard is the future.
  • Screen Recognition : We want to put pixel sense to the test. Will it be able to detect screens of other devices? Say a iPad or Android Phone if we put it face down? Of course we know Windows Phone will integrate nicely with this, but the truth is there are more iOS and Android devices in the wild. To make those compatible with the surface would mix up everything.
  • Real World Interactions : Strapping a HD web cam (list below) to the Surface would give a new dimension of possibilities. You would be able to take a picture or video or your self in real time and then interact with it on the screen. Imagine you are having surgery and the doctor puts you in front a vision enabled surface. He can then map out exactly what he is going to do on the screen. For plastic surgery you he could modify the picture and even show you the final result before it happens.

Touch Mouse

This Touch Mouse http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/touch-mouse Highlights everything a mouse is suppose to be. This would surely come in handy while programming touch screen phones all day. I’m excited to see exactly how much so. However, I can foresee accessibility problems for those that are visually impaired. It would be great to hook this mouse up to a vibrating sensor and give feedback through the mouse depending on where the cursor is. This way those with impairments get a chance to explore the screen without being tied to keyboard and screen reader.


XBox & Kinect

There are a countless number of things that can be done with the Kinect. Just check out some of the demo videos that we created showcasing what the Kinect actually sees

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL62839D131DDF6CAB

The list can go on and on, but here are just a few ideas that we have for this product:

  • Baby Monitor : Just go ahead and point this baby at your baby! The kinect can not only detect if your child has moved out of it’s range, but it can also detect where their hands are. You are always worried about them getting into things they aren’t suppose to, or scratching their face, but now you can keep note of exactly what they are dong.
  • Security Monitor : When your not playing with the kinect why just have it sit there an do nothing? Using the infrared sensors we can turn this into a home security monitor. It would be even more great to integrate this with your Windows Phone to not only automatically detect when your not home but to also send alerts. And while we are at it, let’s also use a Xbox Vision camera to just send a direct feed to your cell as well.
  • Visual Aid : Using many of the kinects libraries, we want to attempt to make an application what helps the blind move more freely. By analyzing their surroundings we can convert this to audio feedback and help them find objects and obstacles that they may encounter. Not to mention make a video game where you don’t need to see the screen in order to play.

Tag

While this isn’t necessarily a hardware product, I am still very interested in this technology and a Windows Phone would help. For those of you that don’t know that “TAG” is, it’s basically a 2-D QR or bar code. You are used to seeing them as a bunch of little blocks, but Microsoft has pushed the envelope to make them way more visually appealing. This could be exactly what this technology needs in order to finally take-off. I would love to help break this at Florida State and start to “TAG” up everything.


LifeCam

This little cameras are AMAZING! With all the videos that we make at The Lab, having one of these on every computer would be great. Aside from just video conferencing, is would be beneficial to us to have to live webcams so what we can share with the rest of the world what goes on inside of The Mobile Lab.

Imagine the possibilities of teaming this little guy up with the kinect and a big screen TV to create a real virtual world in three D. Having another set of eyes never hurts. I get really excited when I think about the possibilities of this tied along with the next product, Microsoft Sync.


Sync

This is probably one of the things I get most excited about, Microsoft Sync. Sync is the technology integrated into Ford’s automobiles. To have a full access pass and project in this field can help change everything. Tons of ideas from automatic crash detection, new voice commands, to daily medical monitoring can be done with the this.

  • Crash Detection : One of the easiest and most straight forward ideas. Just check to see if the air bags deployed and not only contact EMS but also family and loved ones.
  • Voice Commands. Texting : I know that there are already a bunch that ships with this, but hands free driving has been making a bug push. Texting while driving has major problem and this can help solve that.
  • Daily Medical Monitoring : The majority of us come into contact with our vehicles on a daily basis. What kind of information can we gather but taking the driver’s heart rate everytime they grab the wheel, or log their weight as soon as they sit down? We can track long term changes and mine a wealth of data over a person’s lifetime.
  • DUI Detection : What if DUI’s weren’t even a problem anymore because if you are intoxicated your car wouldn’t even start? Using facial features along with alcohol sensors and contextual information this can be a reality.

About Frank Sposaro

Frank was the initial student to start the mobile lab with Dr. Tyson. After working on the first project, iFall, he and Dr. Tyson designed the Mobile Programming course as FSU. The course is used as a training base to recruit new students into the lab. His thesis researches several medical related applications, including iFall. Frank then went on to implement the redesign of the “favorite contacts” for Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich at Google HQ in Mountain View, California. He currently acts as a tech lead in the lab getting infrastructure and project management tools setup. He has special focus on native Android coding and UI design.

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