Appcessories are App and Accessory combo devices – where an add-on for an iPad or iPhone has been specifically engineered to interact with a matching app to provide new functionality. But whenever a user wants to do something with a touchscreen device, he/she has to touch the screen. But is it possible to do the same thing without touching the screen? Yes! It’s possible. Just by using magnet, tangible interface designer and inventor Andrea Bianchi along with his colleague, Ian Oakley have shown how a touchscreen device can fully be operated without touching the screen.
Whenever a user wants to call or text someone, listen to song or go inside of a touchscreen device, he/she has to touch the screen of that device. But magnets can do the same thing without touching. To be more specific, magnetic tokens can take place anywhere around a touch screen device, requiring no user or any active electrical components to touch the screen not even for a single moment but can perform the same thing.
Andrea Bianchi and Ian Oakley used 3 magnets (small, medium and large) that had very strong magnetic field. All the small, medium and large magnets had 2mm thickness, but the small magnet had 0.5 cm diameter and 400 gauss; the medium had 1 cm diameter and 1000 gauss, and the large magnet had 2 cm diameter and 1500 gauss.
They kept the magnets 10cm away from the device’s border. The software they used simply read a cumulative value of the magnetic field strength and direction (measurable changes on the magnetic field) of each magnet.
Be noted, it’s not must that multiple magnets have to be used at a time. It can be used individually like one magnet will be used for the strength, one for the direction. But if the magnets are used together then these magnets will measure strength and direction at a time.
However, if anyone is worried about his/her iPhone or iPad may become damaged or malfunctioned, then need to tell you that keeping the magnets at a good distance from the iDevices won’t damage or malfunction the user’s electronic device. Here’s a demo video of Magnetic Appcessories.
Till now, Bianchi and Oakley haven’t released any app, but they are planning to work on an open source toolbox to help other developers working with magnets. Andrea will represent the technique at the upcoming ACM TEI 2013 conference in Barcelona.
Source : Makezine