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What to sort out in electronics in 2010

Posted: 05 Jan 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:lithography  EUV  smart grid  interface 

Better keyboards, displays
Users need something better than keyboards and displays to interact with the burgeoning world of mobile devices.

The Blackberry has given us "all thumbs computing" as the interface for mobile e-mail. The iPhone threw out the mini keyboard to give us the touch-face display that lets a user issue accidental commands when his cheek hits the screen as he takes a call.

Now Synaptics and others are using the embedded accelerometers in cell phones as a way to issue commands by tilting devices. We cringe to think about the convolutions of accidental commands this may create.

Voice interfaces could solve such problems, notes Editor Nic Mokhoff, especially for the growing population of older users who have to squint to read the characters on their mobile screens. But engineers need to improve today's voice interface to make them more useful. "Make all GPS systems adhere to a single voice recognition algorithm that gives answers to location, traffic and destination queries via user-friendly speaker recognition," Mokhoff said.

Anyone who has made routine use of 411 or Google's free telephone information service (at 800.466.4411) knows voice interfaces are still buggy despite being widely deployed. Can you say, "start over?"

We still need displays, but we long for the foldable display technologies EE Times editors such as Mokhoff have been writing about for more than a decade. The iPhone sports a nice looking mobile display, but the return to the large candy bar form factor has made this device impossible to carry with any grace for a generation raised on blue jeans.

- Rick Merritt

- EE Times

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