Qeexo, a small company borne out of Carnegie Mellon, has been introducing FingerSense, a technology that allows smartphones and tablets to tell the difference between touches with a fingertip, finger pad, nail, knuckle, stylus, or stylus eraser.
They've modified a Samsung Galaxy S3 with a special acoustic sensor, while their custom software demonstrates wide variety of applications, including contextual menus accessed through knuckle-taps, artistic input, and gaming. Qeexo is quietly getting developers hooked up with their Android SDK, and as a part of their pitch to OEMs, Qeexo boasts FingerSense is low-latency, real-time, and has a small demand on power.
Personally, I could see this kind of touch behavior becoming very natural, and adding a whole level of navigational depth to Android beyond the standard set of gestures we've become used to. The only problem is that it hinges on smartphone manufacturers being on board, and even then, it can take awhile for them to work it into a final, shipped product. At the same time, Qeexo has to win over developers to support the input with compelling experiences that push manufacturers to adopt FingerSense - a hard sell for busy developers.
More information on FingerSense, including a finished paper on the project is available here, while developers can learn more about getting involved at Qeexo's site. Developers, any interest? What are the odds that an OEM will pick this up? Could you guys see yourselves using knuckle-taps on a regular basis?