Researchers from the University of Alberta, the University of Toronto, and Autodesk Research have teamed up to create a gadget called Magic Finger. It attaches to a user’s finger and effectively turns any surface into a touchscreen as it tracks their movement. Still largely a working prototype, the device is said to be capable of connecting wirelessly to devices such as smartphones and trigger phone calls through gestures.
The Magic Finger is comprised of a pair of cameras, with one being a micro RGB camera that’s able to read the texture of the nearest surface, while the other senses motion. The former’s sensitivity means swiping a finger across an arm executes a different command than swiping it across a leg covered in jeans, for example.
Autodesk researchers say the Magic Finger can sense 32 textures with an accuracy of 98.9 percent.
Other possible applications for the Magic Finger include pairing it with game consoles, scanning QR codes, or perhaps as a controller to be used in conjunction with Google Glasses. The device isn’t as accurate as a regular desktop mouse at this time, however.
If or when the device becomes available for purchase remains to be seen.