3DTouch 'smart thimble' could replace mouse – video
Finger-mounted 3DTouch device uses accelerometer and gyroscope to control computer
A device that lets users interact with their computers just by moving a finger could replace the mouse, some experts believe.
The prototype, created by Anh Nguyen and Amy Banic from the University of Wyoming in Laramie, works with a 3D accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope, similar to those found in smartphones.
Named 3DTouch, the invention looks something like a thimble with wires that stretch along the index finger and around the palm. By bringing the thimble into contact with any surface a user can click or select elements onscreen.
The device is compatible with a range of programs, including games, word processors and web browsers.
A button on the surface of the forefinger replaces the left-click function of a traditional mouse, the Daily Mail notes, and the device uses "optical flow" sensors to track movement against any flat surface.
3DTouch connects to an Arduino controller – a small, simple computer which sends information about a user's movements to a laptop or desktop PC.
"3DTouch enables users to use their fingers or thumb as a 3D input device with the capability of performing 3D selection, translation and rotation," the researchers explained in a short video posted on YouTube.
"[It] is designed to fill the missing gap of a 3D input device that is self-contained, mobile and universally working across various 3D platforms," they said. "With 3DTouch, we attempted to bring 3D interaction and applications a step closer to users in everyday life."