DailyDirt: The Human-Computer Interface

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Keyboards and mice have been the traditional input devices for a lot of computer users. Recently, though, touchscreens and other devices are gaining in popularity. Here are a few more interesting examples of ways to interact with computers. By the way, StumbleUpon can recommend some good Techdirt articles, too.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, May 11th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    A Microsoft researcher has collected a historical gallery of devices such as pen inputs, trackballs, joysticks, etc. This isn't an exhaustive collection of input devices, but it includes some interesting artifacts -- like the OrbiTouch.

    I can't help but notice that this "historical gallery" is heavily slanted in favor of Intel based systems and omits some of the most famous or earliest examples of each category. Where's the Atari joystick? The Intellivision disc controller? The Amiga JoyBoard? The KoalaPad?

     

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  2.  
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    TRACE, May 11th, 2011 @ 5:47pm

    Turn off all the lights, oh-oh, French kiss...

     

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  3.  
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    JR, May 12th, 2011 @ 9:05am

    WriteHander

    I still have a couple. In the day (before keyboards were affordable and most folks built their own computers) they were a great gadget.

    One thing missing is the rat—an upsidedown trackball designed to be operated with the foot.

     

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  4.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), May 12th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

    Re:

    I think this gallery is not meant to highlight the most popular examples in each category -- but the curiosities and the oddballs of each category. So that just means the heavy slant towards Intel-based systems means Intel designs some weird and unpopular UI devices.... Although it does seem to include a few of the more popular user interfaces eg. IBM's little red dot on laptop keyboards.
    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/people/bibuxton/buxtoncollection/detail.aspx?id=6 0

     

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  5.  
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    Rekrul, May 13th, 2011 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re:

    I think this gallery is not meant to highlight the most popular examples in each category -- but the curiosities and the oddballs of each category. So that just means the heavy slant towards Intel-based systems means Intel designs some weird and unpopular UI devices.... Although it does seem to include a few of the more popular user interfaces eg. IBM's little red dot on laptop keyboards.

    Well, the joystick section includes a Gravis joystick and three by Kraft, even though there was nothing particularly odd or unique about any of them. And what could be more oddball than the Joystick/Paddle combo controllers for the Bally Astrocade, the Amiga Joyboard, or the Intellivision disc controllers? What about lightpens for drawing directly on normal monitor screens, or light guns for shooting at on-screen targets?

     

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  6.  
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    Michael Ho (profile), May 13th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hmmm. Maybe it's time we create a wiki page that curates a more complete history of interesting UI devices -- and we'll avoid all the "PivotViewer" and Microsoft Tags stuff... And make it searchable.

     

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  7.  
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    Rekrul, May 14th, 2011 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    At one point, I believe there was an Atari compatible controller that looked like a yellow trackball mounted in a blue version of the base from a standard Atari joystick. Except that it wasn't a trackball. As I recall, you used it by squeezing the side of the ball for the direction you wanted to move. I never had one, but I remember seeing pictures of it in a magazine.

    There was also a base-less joystick that you simply held in the air and mercury switches detected which way the stick was tilted. It never worked very well. :)

     

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