The next mouse-killer: Haptix 3D multitouch sensor turns any surface into a controller

haptix 3d multitouch sensor aims to be another mouse killer windows8

Is the computer mouse heading for extinction? With touchscreens becoming the input method of choice these days, all signs point to yes. And with more companies releasing alternative input devices, like motion control and eye tracking hardware, the need for a computer mouse is becoming less of a necessity. Yesterday, a company called Ractiv released its version the alternative mouse: the Haptix 3D multitouch sensor. 

haptix“Haptix is based on completely radical algorithms in computer vision and image processing,” co-founder Lai Xue said in a press release. “We’ve taken virtually every conventional method in this field and formulated better techniques to take their place.” Xue, one of Intel’s youngest engineers, developed Haptix with his partner Darren Lim to fix the problems they believe plague multitouch and 3D sensing.

The team claims that using multitouch on a tablet can cause your neck to hurt from looking down, and using a touchscreen on your laptop can be tiring on the arms from constantly reaching out. They also pointed out that your hands would cover part of the screen in both cases. “3D sensing technology is incredibly cool, but it’s not going to replace multitouch or the mouse anytime soon simply because it faces problems such as imprecision and gorilla arm,” Lim said. With Haptix, however, users interact with their computers through 3D multitouch, which adds a layer of 3D sensing on top of a layer of multitouch. In their words, it’s like using multitouch and a mouse at the same time.

haptix-how-it-worksHaptix is a small bar with two embedded CMOS sensors that can lay flat or clip onto anything elevated, allowing for multitouch on any flat surface, such as a table or window. Simply clipping Haptix onto a laptop transforms it into a multitouch keyboard, hypothetically allowing the user to control their computer completely from the keyboard without having to move back and forth between a keyboard and a mouse.

Ractiv touts the Haptix as being the “best of both worlds,” allowing for maximum productivity. With the Haptix, you can tap, pinch to zoom, or swipe to scroll. When your fingers are above the surface, you’ll see them appear on the screen, which makes it easy to know what you’re selecting when you tap the surface to click on a link. 

But we had to wonder: Wouldn’t your hands get tired from having to hover over your keyboard the whole time? According to Ractiv, your hands are “well-rested,” but we can’t confirm this before we try it out for ourselves.  

Is Haptix a mouse-killer? Ractiv believes so. The team say they haven’t used a mouse “in a while,” and haven’t missed it. Haptix even lets you define different functions for different fingers, so you can set your middle finger as the cursor, your index finger to left clicks, and your ring finger to right click, for example. Haptix works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and 8, and Ubuntu (sorry, Mac-users). 

Haptix is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter and, at the time of publication,had reached $44,427 of its $100,000 goal with 29 days left to go. A pledge of $65 or more will get you your own Haptix. Compared to the $80 Leap Motion Controller, and the $150 MYO Armband, the $65 Haptix is a steal. We’ll have to see if that’s true when we get some hands-on time with it ourselves. Stay tuned. 

Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Computing

Stop your PC's vow of silence with these tips on how to fix audio problems

Sound problems got you down? Don't worry, with a few tweaks and tricks we'll get your sound card functioning as it should, and you listening to your favorite tunes and in-game audio in no time.
Computing

Is it worth spending more for the Surface Pro, or is the Surface Go good enough?

The Surface Go versus Surface Pro -- which is better? While the higher price tag of one might make you think it's an easy choice, a deeper dive into what each offers makes it a closer race than you might assume.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers for 2019

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Computing

Hackers are scoring with ransomware that attacks its previous victims

Computer viruses are always evolving. In a new one, dubbed "Ryuk," hackers are targeting PCs with ransomware that scours an infected network in order to pinpoint and attack and enterprises with big money.
Computing

An update to Microsoft To-Do will help you keep up with your resolutions

If you're looking to stay productive in 2019, you might want to check out the freshly updated Microsoft To-Do app, now with additional integration with the Windows 10 Start Menu and more.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Computing

Could the next Microsoft HoloLens be announced at MWC 2019?

After not having a presence at Mobile World Congress for three years, Microsoft is now sending out media invites for a press conference on February 24 during the annual event in Barcelona. Could a next-generation HoloLens be on the way?
Computing

Microsoft to separate Cortana from search with the next version of Windows 10

Changes are on the way for two key features in Windows 10. A separation of Windows 10 search and Cortana will allow Microsoft to more often innovate on each of the features independently.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Computing

Convert your PDFs into convenient Word documents with Adobe or a free option

PDF files are great, but few document types are as malleable as those specific to Microsoft Word. Here's how to convert a PDF file into a Word document, whether you prefer to use Adobe's software suite or a freemium alternative.
Computing

Nvidia’s next midrange card might be a GTX 1660 Ti, rumors suggest

Nvidia may be working on a non-RTX Turing graphics card called the 1660 Ti. Rumors suggest it will have around 20 percent fewer CUDA cores than the RTX 2060 and will lack ray tracing support.
Deals

From Samsung to HP, here are the best cheap Chromebook deals right now

Whether you want a compact laptop to enjoy some entertainment on the go, or you need a no-nonsense machine for school or work, we've smoked out the best cheap Chromebook deals -- from full-sized laptops to 2-in-1 convertibles -- with most…