Researchers bring 3D Touch style technology to smartphone body

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a The Force Phone software that allows detection of pressure on any part of the phone.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a smartphone software that allows detection of pressure on any part of the phone. This pressure detection can be used for various grips on the body for input. Squeezing the phone in one way can make a call, or open up the camera if gripped in another way. The same software can also simulate the 3D touch capabilities in the latest iPhone. The phone does not need any special hardware or modifications to do this.

The technology was inspired by the technology shown in The Dark Knight. A high pitch tone is sent out by the speaker, and received by the microphone. Physical interactions with the phone modify this inaudible tone. The extent and nature of the modification allows the software to calculate the type of grip on the phone. The tone is in the 18 kHz range.

Force Phone is the third technology developed inspired by the sonar sequence in The Dark Knight. The same team has developed two other smartphone apps that uses the same technology. BumpAlert uses high pitched tone, as well as the back camera to warn smartphone users of any obstacles in their path. EchoTag is an in-room geotagging system to associate the phone with certain modes or tasks when it is in that area.

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