Tag Archives: Touch

The Technology of Touch (video)

“As we move through the world, we have an innate sense of how things feel — the sensations they produce on our skin and how our bodies orient to them. Can technology leverage this? In this fun, fascinating TED-Ed lesson, learn about the field of haptics, and how it could change everything from the way we shop online to how dentists learn the telltale feel of a cavity.”

YouTube: Haptography: Digitizing our sense of touch

There there are those of us (me included) moan about the march of technological innovation over function, development for the sake of it. Few can argue that bringing technology into the fore for those with disadvantages is a bad thing, that developing and using technology to enable.

While Katherine shows a couple of uses and examples in the video what else can we do with this, how can this be used in education? By introducing touch in this way you can bring any substance or texture to the classroom where it would not be possible (or safe) to do so. What does moon rock feel like? What does hard enamel tell you about the integrity of a tooth? What does the surface of a scarf feel like when it’s frozen in liquid nitrogen? How do you spot a possible failure in an engine block when it’s running at 9000 rpm. To experience these things can bring the subject, the science, the learning alive where you would not always be able to?

What do you think, a worthwhile use of enhanced technology and something that can ‘add value’ to a classroom experience?

Foldify App

‘Foldify’ App (#foldify)

Foldify AppFoldify (iPad): I can’t remember how or where I found out about this app but it is one of the best one’s I’ve ever bought/downloaded. It’s a simple idea – use one of the pre-defined blank templates of a 3D shape and draw on the explanded, unfolded, version to design your very printed 3D figurine. Through it’s simple and intuitive interface budding artists (and big kids alike!) can create and share their own unique paper figure creations.

“Draw, create, print and fold beautiful 3D figures with Foldify. You don’t need drawing skills, Foldify has tons of free content to create amazing, high quality figures!”

Foldify (£1.49): http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/foldify/id527118971

Watch this video for an introduction on what it does and how it works … it’s really what touchscreen devices were made for!

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Kindle Touch

A week with the Kindle Touch

Kindle TouchI’ve been using the Kindle App on my phone and pad for almost a year now and really enjoy the freedom it gives me to just pick up the story/eBook where I left off, even if it wasn’t on that device. So, with the opportunity to test out a Kindle Touch for a week at work I thought ‘yup’ and bagged it quickly before anyone else.

First impressions are mixed:

  • Connection to Eduroam wifi at work was quick and easy, as was wifi at home.
  • Registering the Kindle with Amazon was also quick and easy.
  • I could browse the list of archived books, but not initially download them.
  • I could browse the Kindle store and buy books, but not download them.
  • It was only after three tries at de-registering and re-registering the Kindle did access to my archive and bought books work and I could start reading.
  • The screen is good, especially in bright sunlight, and in direct comparison with reading on the iPad/iPhone.
  • Much easier to hold than the iPad, although it’s harder to balance on your lap because it’s slightly smaller.

What else did I find? Well:

  • Get a case for it. I don’t know how durable the screen is but you’ll need a case/cover for it if you want to keep it working.
  • Touch screen is good but not as good as the ones I’m used to. I also found myself touching the screen more forcefully to make sure it registers the touch, where in fact it is probably more sensitive than other touch screen.
  • Buying eBooks from the Kindle store is too easy, keep a check on purchasing and your account.
  • Email-to-Kindle service is really good to send yourself documents to read, it’s just a pity the screen isn’t up to colour and/or better resolution. Have patience though as the documents do take a while to be prepared and sent by Amazon.
  • Don’t accept the default font size, try a few out and choose the right one for your reading style.
  • Try the landscape mode – it’s easier to read some things this way instead of portrait.
  • Battery performance is good. If you’re not bothered about updating reading process then turn off wifi to make it last even longer.
  • Amazon should have kept the side buttons for forwards/backwards page turning, it is not always easy to touch the screen to progress the pages, depending on how you’re sitting and holding the Kindle.
  • Using the Kindle to read documents is OK, but not ideal. I haven’t explored the annotation/notes ability but I have heard it is good (but not great).
  • I have not explored the X-Ray feature yet either, but this should be good for teachers to use as it enables a page or chapter review for characters, phrases, locations, etc.

Here’s a selection of images from my time with the Kindle:

Here’s a handy hint … if you want to capture the screen, like I did above, then hold down the Home button for about 3 seconds then touch the screen just once. You won’t see anything happen but, next time you connect the Kindle Touch to your PC via a USB cable the 600×800 GIF will be available in the root directory when you browse the device! Nice!

Other reviews of note you ought to be aware of:

I’m still waiting for the Kindle Fire to find it’s way to the UK – I think this could be a game changer for eBooks and interactive reading experiences, as much or more so than iBooks … but perhaps it’s more wishful thinking than anything else.