As smartphones skyrocketed in popularity, we got used to using our fingertips to navigate their touch screens with pokes, taps, swipes, and two-finger pinches. There’s more to our fingers than just the tips, though, and a startup called Qeexo aims to take advantage of this with technology that can differentiate between fingertips, nails, and knuckles.
The San Jose, California-based company’s technology, called FingerSense, can be used to do things like bring up a menu of options (akin to right-clicking on a mouse) on an e-mail with the knock of a knuckle, or enable new kinds of controls in games. Currently in talks with phone manufacturers, Qeexo hopes to have FingerSense installed in smartphones within a year.
Qeexo was spun out of Carnegie Mellon University, where it began several years ago as a research project of computer-human interaction graduate students Chris Harrison and Julia Schwarz. Harrison has already gained notice for his work in touch-screen technology—at Disney Research, he helped develop Touché, which can make nearly anything a computer-input device (see “Innovators Under 35: Chris Harrison, 28”).