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Advances in computer displays have lagged behind improvements in processors, stor-
age capabilities and network bandwidth. Researchers have begun to focus attention on
enhancing display technologies. Among new technologies launched in recent years are
electronic ink
, organic light-emitting diodes (OLED's)
, and light-emitting polymers (LEP's)
These should lead eventually to the creation of more power-efficient, cheaper, and
higher resolution displays. The focus on cheaper and more malleable materials may
make it feasible to make display devices ubiquitous and to use them in more creative
Keyboard and mouse interface technologies
Some of the most interesting contemporary work is geared towards the development
of virtual keyboards and mice, devices which support the common keyboard metaphor
but without the keys. A traditional keyboard is not convenient or practical in the case of
smaller computers so serious interest is being taken in new alphanumeric interfaces
including Graffiti handwriting, or alpha-numeric keypads similar to some telephone
phone keypads.
Mathias Kölsch and Matthew Turk of the University of California, Santa Barbara, have
carried out an interesting survey on different technologies involving the use of virtual
A doctoral study by Robert Rosenberg of University College, London has
identified a number of approaches and devices which may hold future relevance for the
cultural heritage sector.
Photoelectric sensors, active finger tracking methods, gyro-
scopes and laser technologies are amongst the technologies used for developing virtual
keyboards.The Visual Panel consists of a camera and a sheet of paper, and computer
vision tools locate the position of the index finger in reference to the paper.
Chording Glove is based on attaching pressure sensors for each finger of the hand in a
glove (see Rosenberg).The Finger-Joint Gesture Wearable Keypad (see Goldstein et al)
uses thumbs which treat the phalanges of other fingers as virtual buttons to be pressed.
offers a virtual keyboard based on laser technology that can be projected and
touched on any flat surface. A keyboard image is projected from a handheld or other
device onto a flat surface, and an optical-recognition device detects which `keys' the fin-
gers hit. Such a keyboard can be integrated into laptops, mobile phones, or PC's. It is
anticipated that such keyboards will in time gain a broad user community, including the
cultural sector. Another area of innovative work is on eye tracking, which is presented in
the motion tracking interfaces section, below.
The video camera as input device
Video cameras have already been used as input devices in cultural heritage organisa-
tions, notably and successfully in the Zeppelin Museum at Ludwigshafen, Germany.The
set-up consists of a video camera that takes photographs of the visitors and attaches them
to electronic greeting cards, which can later be sent to relatives or friends.This museum
Human Interfaces
See, for example,
`Computing without Mice and Keyboards:Text and Graphic Input Devices for Mobile Computing',
partially available at
See Zhang et al, `Visual Panel:Virtual Mouse, Keyboard and 3D Controller with an Ordinary
Piece of Paper'