Tag Images with Your Mind

25 11 2009

Assigning textual tags to an image is an important task because tags are needed for things like image search. When you search for an image of a “cat,” modern search engines can only identify an image as containing a cat if the tag “cat” is associated with it.

Having people tag images by hand is an onerous task. Shenoy and Tan of Microsoft Research developed a way to tag images automatically by reading people’s brain scans while they look at images. The people did not even have to specifically think about trying to tag the image; they merely had to passively observe it.

Reading Minds

The technique requires using an electroencephalograph (EEG), a cap with electrodes placed on the scalp in regular locations that can each measure brain activity in their local area.

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Apple vs. Microsoft: Multi-touch Mouse Comparison

23 11 2009

Both Apple and Microsoft have introduced mice with “multi-touch” sensing.  This is arguably the first substantial improvement to the mouse since it was invented in 1968 by Doug Englebart.  Apple’s product, the Magic Mouse, is commercially available for $69.  Microsoft has 5 prototype mice that are still in the R & D stage.

Regular mice only allow movement via the palm and the clicking of a left, right, and middle mouse button.

Why not detect inputs from all 5 fingers all over and around the surface of the mouse?  Multi-touch sensing technology for touch screens has allowed detection of multiple simultaneous presses all over a display screen.  A multi-touch mouse simply applies multi-touch technology on a mouse.

This article will compare the Apple and Microsoft offerings.

Apple: Magic Mouse

The Magic Mouse is a straightforward application of multi-touch to mousing and is a tame improvement compared with Microsoft’s more radical designs.  The Magic Mouse is based on a regular mouse body but covers the top with capacitive sensors.  These sensors are the same that would be used in standard touch screens, like on the iPhone.

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