Clever smartphone joystick won't block the view of your screen

A new 3-axis analog joystick has just been created that is mounted on your mobile device's camera instead of on its touchscreen. That means now your whole screen is free for gameplay.

The joystick operates using what the company calls GelForce tracking. Located inside the apparatus is a system of colored markers; when you manipulate the joystick the markers bend and move. Your mobile device's camera picks up on the changes in the colored markers, and the software that comes with the joystick interprets that into movement.

Unlike other models, this joystick keeps your hands off the touchscreen — so your screen is never obscured and you don't have to worry about any oil or dirt from your fingers. The joystick can be attached to either the front or rear camera.

It's not exactly clear how the joystick is held in place though it looks like the prototype uses a bit of elastic tape to anchor it firmly over the camera. Presumably, the more precisely it is held over the camera, the more accurate the tracking will be.

Professor Tachi, at Keio University in Japan, created the GelForce tracking system in 2003. The new joystick utilizing the technology comes from the same team. Keio University is also responsible for such digital innovations as the interactive kissing poster and the ability to print smells.

No word on when the joystick prototype might be ready for sales.

DigInfo, via Technabob

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