Handheld Challenges

Dan Gillmor writes about some of the ongoing research areas in handhelds (as an outcome of a recent conference he attended):

  • Keeping track of schedules is a primary task for many users of handhelds. A team of researchers from the University of Maryland and Microsoft have teamed up on “DateLens” — a calendar-on-steroids for the Pocket PC. The software gives an overview of a schedule but lets the user zoom in on events in intelligent ways, such as highlighting competing events.

  • Making the handheld screen larger in a virtual way has obvious practicality in many areas. Ka-Ping Yee, from the University of California-Berkeley, was showing his “peephole” display on a Palm device. Imagine that a handheld is a small window hovering over a larger screen. Move the handheld and you see other areas of the big screen.

  • The profusion of remote controls bedevils everyone with modern video and audio systems, and universal remotes have come into the market to address the problem. Taking that notion a step further is a team from Carnegie Mellon University and Maya Design, both located in Pittsburgh, which is experimenting with “personal universal controllers”.

  • Writing on the handheld is a slow process, typically accomplished character by character with a stylus or by using thumbs on a mini-keyboard. Shumin Zhai, from IBM’s Almaden research lab in San Jose, and Per-Ola Kristensson, from Linkping University in Sweden, have developed a way to write words via a few, linked strokes of a stylus.

  • Published by

    Rajesh Jain

    An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.