Magnets. How’s that to start a story?
In the case that we have here, it’s actually cheating. We’re talking about electromagnetism, native to almost all technologies we use every day from door handles to cars and toasters. All of these objects have naturally-emitting and unique EM noise signatures. Just by touching them, those signals pass through your body.
It’s not often (I believe never before on this site, at least) that we bring the Disney Research Hub into conversations about mobile technology. But it has teamed up with Carnegie Mellon University to see if object detection through EM reading can modernize lifestyles — rather than by making everything “smart” or recipes in IFTTT.
The EM-Sense project team believes its efforts have yielded a chip that can sense what a person is touching and apply that contextual information to help the user out.
It’s built a prototype smartwatch around that chip to detect EM signals, recognize their patterns and register what object you’re touching based on that data. From there, context-triggered applications can do their thing.
Since Disney’s all up in this, there’s a strong likelihood that all of its theme park guests will have the option to rent out a smartwatch and “enhance their stay” at Disney World/Land/Ville/Canyon.
Also, while the cost of production has been thrown around as $10, we have not been able to access the source paper to confirm the number, but the project page does say that the components are “low-cost.”
The one thing wrong with the video? Jack Speer is on the evening top-of-the-hour newscasts for NPR, not the morning.