Tag Archives: Nokia

Loupe is an interactive handheld near-eye display

A group of researchers from Nokia and a number of universities have designed a gadget that has the same benefits of Google Glass, while eradicating the need to wear them around one’s face. The gadget, which is tethered to an Epson Android computer and an Arduino Pro Mini (ATmega168), provides an eye-level display for quick, discreet access.

Loupe is described by its creators as a novel interactive device with a near-eye virtual display similar to head-up display glasses that retains a handheld form factor, while having the capability of gaining access to information feeds.

“We present our hardware implementation and discuss our user interface that leverages Loupe’s unique combination of properties. In particular, we present our input capabilities, spatial metaphor, opportunities for using the round aspect of Loupe, and our use of focal depth. We demonstrate how those capabilities come together in an example application designed to allow quick access to information feeds,” the team wrote in its report.


With its cylindrical shape, the lipstick tube-sized gadget can be held up to one’s eye when a user wants to check their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and such. When not in use, the device can easily be stowed away in a pocket or worn like a pendant necklace.

The Loupe prototype is comprised of several components, such as a micro-display obtained from Epson Moverio BT-100 binocular head-up display. The team reveals that they disassembled the Epson glasses, discarded its optics and housing, and then extracted one of the LCDs and associated LED backlight. The LCD is a 0.52-inch color display with a resolution of 960 x 540. The front of the display uses simple magnifying optics. For the current prototype, the researchers used a jeweler’s loupe in order to take advantage of its level of magnification.

Loupe was devised with a numerous sensors for input, including an ATmega168-based Arduino Pro Mini used to collect and preprocess sensor data that is then forwarded to the Android control box of the Epson Moverio.


The handheld creation also features nine DOF motion sensing with a 3-axis accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyroscope from Sparkfun. Using a sensor fusion algorithm, this data provides the orientation of the device. Additionally, an infrared proximity sensor is placed on the end next to the optics to determine when the device is placed in front of the user’s eye.

Listed as one of its primary objectives, the device allows quick access to notifications and information feeds that the user may be interested in any time of the day, ranging from social media updates to the latest news. When a new piece of information comes into the Loupe, the display begins to blink as a way to notify the user. Of course, this notification alert from the device occurs only when it is not in use or in an idle stage.

“There will likely be several different types of devices that will offer different technical capabilities and be useful for different purposes. Loupe represents a point somewhere between a phone, a smart watch, and glasses, and there are probably many more devices to be explored,” explained Yahoo Labs Principal Research Scientist Kent Lyons.

While much of the current interest in wearable technology is centered around smartwatches, activity tracking wristbands, and smart glasses, Lyons believes that the market will expand over time. And, as the segment matures, you can bet Atmel’s versatile MCUs will be smack dab in the middle of these platforms and devices.


Why brands need to recognize Maker culture

Writing for the UK-based Guardian, Dan Northover says DIY Maker culture is beginning to have a significant impact on today’s consumers.

“Mike Senese, executive editor of Make Magazine, believes our culture is transforming from a top-down consumer culture to a more one-to-one DIY culture focused on Making,” Northover explains.

“[Clearly], access to social media, 3D printers, affordable sensors and circuitry are changing the way millennials view brands. Top-down control simply doesn’t work for those belonging to the so-called Generation Y, instead they expect to immediately influence brands and modify products to suit themselves.”

Richard Goldsmith, director of social media at Mark Anthony Brands, confirms the DIY trend will prompt more brands to offer customizable open source design files for their customers to modify.

“There are plenty of them out there already. MakieLab founder Alice Taylor started with a simple idea to let people make their own dolls using 3D printing. This has since extended into laser-cut dolls clothes and MakieLab games,” says Northover.

“Last year Campbell’s Soup ran the Hack the Kitchen competition for mobile app creators, while Starbucks is tapping into the maker community’s creativity with Mystarbucksidea.com and Nokia has released the design files for its phone cases so people can customize them and make their own.”

As Northover notes, there is clearly a significant industry shift towards the DIY Maker culture.

“[True], nobody really knows where that’s going to take us. [However], what we do know is that teens of today will grow up with Maker culture as second nature, and soon we’ll all need to realize that the idea of making isn’t reserved just for handcrafted bikes or artisan pickles,” he adds.

Infographic: tracing the touchscreen back to the future

Just a few decades ago, touchscreen technology could only be found in science fiction books and film. However, touchscreens have become so ubiquitous that, today, most children believe displays lacking touch-based interactivity are broken.

Interestingly, the underlying technology for touchscreens can actually be traced back to the 1940s, although they weren’t even remotely physically feasible until at least 1965 when E.A. Johnson of the United Kingdom came up with what historians generally consider the very first finger-driven touchscreen. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until 1982 that the first human-controlled multitouch device was developed at the University of Toronto by Nimish Mehta.

It’s worth noting, at this juncture, that as humans, we have a particular fondness for touch.

Touch is apparently the first sense to develop in humans and may also be the last to fade. We’re also highly sensitive creatures, with five million touch receptors in our skin – 3,000 alone in a finger tip.

The infographic below outlines some of the more historic milestones in touchscreen history, along with some of the wackiest. For example, did you know the world’s largest touch screen is 10 meters long and can accept up to 100 multi-touch inputs at one time? No? Well you do now. This particular screen was developed by a group at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Similarly, the “coolest” touchscreen ever made was developed by a Nokia Research Center team in Finland in 2010. Bringing a whole new meaning to “freeze frame,” Nokia created a 6.5 foot by 4.9 foot ice wall of touch.

Atmel_August Auto_Final

Of course Atmel has a few milestones of its own when it comes to touch. The firm snapped up Quantum Research Group Ltd., a developer of capacitive sensing IP, in 2008 and has been making its presence felt in the world of touchscreens ever since.

More recently, Atmel successfully developed, manufactured and shipped XSense, which can best be described as a high-performance, highly flexible touch sensor on extremely bendable, flexible plastic, allowing engineers to design devices with curved surfaces.

What’s the big deal about curves, you ask? Well, aside from them being sexier (ask any woman you know), curved screens actually cause a series of optical effects that result in improved contrast, color accuracy, readability, and overall image quality — especially under ambient light.

Another benefit of a curved screen is privacy, because when content is viewed from an off-center angle the content on screen is less visible.

Atmel’s XSense also allows for super accurate handwriting recognition with a stylus, which is useful if your handwriting is anywhere as bad as mine.

And, best of all, XSense is made right here in the USA; designed and manufactured in California and Colorado Springs.

Oh, and don’t forget, if you have a creative idea about what you’d do with a bendable, flexible touchscreen, why not enter our XSense design contest here for a chance to win $1500.

Atmel clinches Best Partner Award from Asus

Atmel has received the Asus 2012 Best Partner Award from the industry heavyweight for its extensive product lineup and comprehensive technical support.


“We are pleased to award Atmel with one of our 2012 Best Partner Awards,” said Ricky Tzeng, Purchasing Vice President, Asus. “Atmel has continued to provide outstanding products, along with excellent customer and technical support to ensure we meet our specific new product design requirements for touch controller products.”

According to Tzeng, Atmel’s commitment to Asus is “widely evident,” with Atmel’s end-to-end support helping the company launch a variety of Microsoft Windows 8 mobile products without any delays.

Meanwhile, Richard Lin, Vice President of Asia Pacific, Atmel, said the corporation was honored to receive such a prestigious award from Asus.


“Atmel has a long history of providing some of the most innovative products on the market and to providing exceptional customer support,” he stated. “We look forward to collaborating with Asus on future designs.”

It should be noted that Asus recently selected Atmel’s XSense touch sensor and MaXTouch technology for a number of its flagship tablets.

As of February 2013, Windows 8 tablets and Ultrabooks featuring maXTouch technology included the Asus Vivo Tab, Vivo Tab RT, X202E, S400, and S56, Bluebird’s Pidion BP80 tablet, Dell’s XPS10, XPS 12 Convertible Touch Ultrabook and Inspiron 15z, Fujitsu’s Arrows Tab QH55, HP’s Envy, Envy X2, and Spectre XT TouchSmart Ultrabook, Lenovo’s Think Pad Tablet 2 and X230, LG’s H160 and Z160 Tab-Books, Samsung’s ATIV Tab RT, Series 5 Slate, and Series 7 Slate, and Toshiba’s 925t.

Recent smartphone introductions with maXTouch inside include Samsung’s I9105 Galaxy S II Plus, SCH-W889, and GT-B9388, Nokia’s Lumia 510 and 620, Kyocera’s Digno S, Sharp’s Aquos SH930W, Fujitsu’s F-03E Arrows Kiss, Gionee’s GN700W, Meizu’s MX2 and Xiaomi’s MI2.

Futuristic Smartphones — What Will We See Next?

Would you buy a device that unfolds into a tablet computer and folds back up into a flip phone? Or how about a smartphone that curls up along your wrist like a bracelet, when you’re not using it? Interesting article on 10 futuristic phone concepts. Some really imaginative ideas here that we may someday see in the market.

Which concept is your favorite? What kind of phone do you imagine yourself using down the road?