Who says the open source and Free software world only copy but never innovate? Over at Canonical’s design blog – you know, the company which does nothing for the Linux world *cough* – someone named Christian Giordano has shared some ideas about how Ubuntu – and therefore, the rest of the Linux world – could make use of hardware sensors to better serve its users. Pretty interesting stuff.
The general idea is that Ubuntu could be more aware of its physical surroundings, with the user interface responding to how the user behaves in front of his display. This would need to make use of either cameras or proximity sensors (or both), and already, the guys at Canonical have come up with some interesting use cases.
For instance, a video playing in a windowed state could switch into a fullscreen state when the user leans back from his display. You could use a simple hand gesture or nod to show the launcher, or, go a bit further into the future, and tilt windows when users aren’t properly facing the screen (when using 3D displays, obviously).
The most interesting use case, as far as I’m concerned, is to automatically display notifications using a large font (fullscreen, preferably) when the user is not sitting in front of his computer – maybe he’s sitting on the couch or walking around. This way, notifications can be read from afar. Giordano already experimented with such a feature back in 2006.
A quick prototype was created for all this.
Parallax and fullscreen interaction via webcam from Canonical Design on Vimeo.
Interesting stuff this.
These days most webcams, especially those integrated into screen frames come with an activity light. It could become quite annoying watching a movie with a bright blue or green led flashing right in the eye.