Squeezable user-interface technology for computer-based applications

Paul Boughton
Cambridge Consultants is launching Suma, an intuitive yet very low-cost squeezable user-interface technology that is said to create a completely new way of interacting with computers. With nearly 60 per cent of USA households predicted to own 3D displays within five years, Suma offers a full 3D highly sensitive control experience for gamers and others who expect a high degree of interaction.
The patent-pending Suma sensor system translates the three dimensional deformation of a squeezed object into a software-readable form. Enabling highly sensitive control by finger movements and whole-hand grip in this way means that Suma-based devices can capture far more of the degrees of freedom of the hand than conventional controller technologies, without the need for cumbersome gloves or sensors.
A Suma-based device is like a traditional gaming controller with the normal casework replaced by a 'Suma skin'. This incorporates the proprietary Suma sensor network at an incremental parts cost of less than USA$1. Suma will enable companies developing a wide variety of products and applications - from gaming and design to music and creative arts - to unleash the full capabilities of both the human hand and the user's imagination.
Duncan Smith, head of consumer product development at Cambridge Consultants, says: "Our hands are extraordinary instruments for control and communication. One of our earliest instincts as babies is to grip and grasp, and about a quarter of the motor cortex of the human brain is devoted to the muscles of the hand. Yet current input devices for computers and games do not fully exploit these capabilities. Although gesture-based control is a huge step, even this does not convey the subtlety and flexibility of what our hands can do. By capturing that complexity, Suma enables product developers in a range of industries to greatly enhance the experience of their users, adding multidimensional interaction to both existing and new applications."
Cambridge Consultants is demonstrating a prototype gaming-controller based on the new squeezable Suma technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from 7-10 January 2010. As well as illustrating the performance and sensitivity of the technology, the demonstration will show just how exciting and intuitive Suma-based applications will be.
Duncan Smith continues: "Emerging trends like 3D displays and augmented reality are bound to stimulate interest in Suma's unique capabilities, where the emergence of next-generation applications is limited only by the lack of suitable input devices. But it is also just as relevant and exciting for existing 2D applications and web-based services, where squeeze-to-click can now become squeeze-to-control."
For more information, visit www.cambridgeconsultants.com

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