Cloud Computing: Mozilla Seabird Experiment Provides 3D Projection for Smartphone Interface
Mozilla Seabird Experiment Provides 3D Projection for Smartphone Interface
by Clint Boulton
Seabird Takes Wing
Text input is the primary access point for today's smartphones, but this is a cumbersome experience, even on physical and virtual keyboards with the best user interface design.
Seabird shows how a Bluetooth/infrared-powered dongle could spruce up the gestural interface by displaying it outside the context of the phone. Here, users might access the device through a virtual, 3D touch screen. Users will pan and zoom in 3D space, using haptic clicking by touch.
Pico Projector, with Docking Station
Note how Seabird, using a docking station, projects the applications above the phone on a blackboard with the 3D, infrared-powered keyboard situated below it to approximate the functionality of today's desktops computers. We want one now!
May used "aerodynamic, avian and decidedly feminine forms" for the design-hence the name Seabird. The curved back elevates the projector lens elements when lying flat.
Mozilla noted Seabird is a community-driven experiment, cautioning that it has no plans to produce an OS or hardware, including its own mobile phone model, "at the moment."
Let's say Mozilla did decide to build a mobile phone. It would have to challenge Apple, which by now no doubt has seen Mozilla Seabird in action. Who is to say Apple won't build similar technology?
That same logic can be extended to Google's Android operating system. No one is prevented from building such holographic projections as Android applications.
Seabird on a Droid 2
Imagine Seabird running on a Droid 2. Users would be able to use a virtual keyboard, physical keyboard and 3D virtual keyboard projected on a larger screen outside the phone.
Seabird in Action
OK, we confess. We have a video of Seabirdin action. Check it out. You really need to see this in action to grok it.