Photos: Future tech from HP boffins

Photos: Future tech from HP boffins

Summary: From wearable cameras to addressing developing nations

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  • HP has developed prototype e-book devices that can be used to read books, newspapers and view digital photograph albums.

    Anthony Sowden, project lead on the e-books devices at HP's Bristol Labs said: "We envisage the device as a media viewer."

    HP is also looking at integrating audio and video into the devices, which are relatively light and easy to use and have a battery life of around five hours on full brightness.

    The latest prototypes use 'riffling' technology that allows the device to show digital book pages that can be turned in a realistic way similar to physical books as seen in the photo above.

    Books can be viewed in one-page portrait mode or two-page landscape and the device has touch strips around the edge for scrolling up and down and turning pages.

    Some Jane Austen books, which are out of copyright, have been loaded on to the prototypes and HP is currently talking to the Daily Telegraph about the digital newspaper viewer.

    Photo credit: Andy McCue

  • One of the aims of HP Labs is to develop products for "the next billion customers" who will come from the so-called 'Bric' countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China. Ajay Gupta, director of HP labs in India, said: "In 20 years there will be twice as much opportunity in the Bric countries than the G6."

    Representatives from HP Labs India were over in Bristol to demonstrate some of the latest products to come out of the labs in Bangalore.

    One of these is called a "gesture keyboard", which allows people to input text on PCs in Indian scripts without knowledge of English or typing. It can be used for inputting data in a local language, internet search, web browsing and email.

    There are 1,500 combinations of syllabic units in Hindi so a conventional keyboard with language overlay is not a good solution for those who don't speak English.

    Photo credit: Andy McCue

  • The gesture keyboard consists of a graphics tablet with an electronic pen or stylus to capture digital ink and a software layer to recognise the shapes. The layout has base characters laid out and the user writes the modifier (matra) on the base consonant cell using the pen.

    It took a year for HP Labs in India to develop the handwriting recognition technology for the keyboard and it has a patent for the character positioning and gestures.

    HP claims the keyboard will help address the problem of poor PC and computer literacy among non-English speaking people in developing countries.

    It takes just 10 to 15 minutes for a Hindi speaker to get to grips with this gesture keyboard, which was officially launched last month. HP licences it to a third party and it costs around $50.

    Photo credit: Andy McCue

Topics: Apps, Software Development

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