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Your touchscreen will soon distinguish between a finger, fingernail and a knuckle

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Your touchscreen will soon distinguish between a finger, fingernail and a knuckle
"A big problem with touchscreens right now is that they are very simplistic, relative to the capability of our hands. We could do so much more."-Chris Harrison
Imagine being able to call up different features on your touchscreen phone depending on whether you used your finger, fingernail or knuckle on the screen. This is not as far away as you might think. Chris Harrison, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, has modified a Samsung Galaxy S III to distinguish the difference in touch input between a finger, fingernail and a knuckle.

The modded Samsung Galaxy S III has a small vibration sensor and when combined with Harrison's FingerSense software, the sensor can tell the difference between the three touch inputs based on vibrations and acoustics. A finger tip could let you select an object from the screen while a knuckle tap could act like a right-click on a mouse and show a sub-menu.

Harrison has started a company called Qeexo to sell the device and he says that the sensor can be added to the main circuit board of any smartphone. Harrison says he is in talks with major smartphone manufacturers now to bring this technology to the public. Harrison, though, says "the real magic is in the software, this artificial intelligence that lives in the heart of the phone".

source: Newscientist, YouTube via Gizmodo

29 Comments
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posted on 18 Nov 2012, 13:47 12

1. Roomaku (Posts: 278; Member since: 06 Feb 2012)


I can't wait to get and iPhone Punch just punch the screen!

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 21:13

26. Twisted247 (Posts: 193; Member since: 12 Oct 2012)


Isn't that the only use of apple products anyways? Punching the screen

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 13:56

2. regkilla (Posts: 56; Member since: 13 Sep 2012)


Phone bang lol

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 14:06 10

3. Tsepz_GP (Posts: 664; Member since: 12 Apr 2012)


Atleast we can look forward to a little piece of innovation then :) the fact that they are testing this on an S3 could mean the S4 may get it

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 14:39 2

4. ElektronicGeek91 (Posts: 105; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


Every time I think they ran out of ideas to put on phones, is the time they created something new. Good job, technology just gets better and better.

posted on 20 Nov 2012, 16:07

28. miles16852 (Posts: 189; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


this is nothing new, if you ever worked in a office, the multifuction machines have very nice touch screens that responds to your finger, or a stylus or your finger nail, this is nothing new, its been in use for years now.. and a few of the cell phones already had this,, example the palm centro as well as a few other palm phones already had it,,,,, but it sure would like to see it on most of todays phones,,

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 14:43

5. ncv144 (Posts: 126; Member since: 04 May 2012)


but nfc is still in the dark.....
Anyway, nice touchscreens you got there Qeexo!

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 15:06 6

6. lyndon420 (Posts: 1641; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)


Nice tech. If it can be dreamed up, chances are it will find a home in an Android device of some kind somewhere. It's hard to believe I used to function in a world without the droid.

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 16:22 4

7. TheMan (Posts: 349; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


Hmmm. Knuckle, nail, finger. You've got the makings of a great adult app right there.

Seriously, even if it could eliminate/ignore random screen touches that'd be a great advance.

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 19:05

11. WakaFlakaD (Posts: 352; Member since: 30 Apr 2011)


^Speaking from The Man!

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 18:22

9. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


This could actually spell the end of the mouse!!
Brilliant work.
In a few years, we will all be grateful to this guy

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 18:27

10. mozes316 (Posts: 142; Member since: 30 Sep 2011)


The tech world needs more people like this guy. Awesome idea.

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 19:35

12. protozeloz (Posts: 5328; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


We need this!!!!!! Where is Google trowing money at this guys door!?

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 21:38

14. spideyhead256 (Posts: 148; Member since: 05 Nov 2012)


if this happens im already sold to get the s4.i use S-Memo on a daily schedule to sketch and stuff so this would be VERY helpful.

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 21:41

15. blackspot (Posts: 102; Member since: 14 Nov 2012)


That's what I'm talking bout'! Innovation FTW!!

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 22:06

16. MC1123 (Posts: 1220; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


sunds nice

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 22:14

17. voxmarc (Posts: 299; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)


Not bragging or anything...but the Note2 can swipe using fingernails,knuckle,even with tissue paper on my finger.....just add a little pressure.....thanks to wacom and the pressure sensitivity...it works....

posted on 18 Nov 2012, 23:17

18. laheelahee (Posts: 213; Member since: 09 Apr 2012)


i just tried my knuckles & fingernail on my dad's HTC Incredible and it works. but it doesnt distinguish between them, is the point

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 08:01

23. Owlet (Posts: 445; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)


Every phone can be swiped with a knuckle.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 01:06

20. akishakoi (Posts: 65; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)


Why use your knuckle when you can use a banana or a fork? - Lumia 920. Lols

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 02:58 1

21. groupsacc (Posts: 232; Member since: 28 Feb 2012)


I don't think most of youse understand this article. It's not just detection of fingernails and knuckles, it is able to distinguish them, thus for example, you can make fingernail touches as hover, knuckle touches as right clicks etc.

posted on 19 Nov 2012, 21:16

27. Twisted247 (Posts: 193; Member since: 12 Oct 2012)


Great app, quite impressive. This is a great idea for the women out there, my mother for one has longer nails and she keeps her older phone because it recognizes touch from what ever source. Vs the higher stuff of the current market which is heat sensitive so you have to use your knuckle or finger.

Thats why I directed her to the note series and she is looking to go in that route. But this is a great idea for everyone. being able to have your menu button on any screen by simply throwing a knuckle is great! Among other possibilities.

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