When it comes to interacting with our devices, the mouse and the touchscreen are the predominant methods. Senic, the team behind a new device called Flow, is aiming to change that by adding quite a few new ways for users to interact with their computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Flow is designed to be used in three ways. First, users can tap the top of the device. The second method is actually done in the air over Flow, as it reads users' hand movements and translates them to actions. The third interaction type comes from rotating the metal ring around Flow. Haptic feedback is used here to help the user feel precise increments of movement. Each of these actions can be customized to perform all kinds of different actions on a user's devices.
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Some examples of how Flow could be used include swiping over it to skip songs, or rotating its ring to zoom in and out while working in Photoshop. For video editors, the rotation could serve as a jog wheel for small movements through video files. There are a lot of possibilities, but it all comes down to whether users actually feel that a mouse and keyboard are incapable of getting these jobs done well enough.
Senic already has support for a number of existing apps and devices, with plans to continue to add more as time goes on. So far, some popular ones listed include Spotify, Photoshop, Arduino, and Pandora.
If an app is not officially supported by Senic, it doesn't matter, because the platform is open, meaning programmers can add support for almost anything once the device is released. This means that, provided Flow catches on, the possible uses for it could be far-reaching.
As for the hardware itself, Bluetooth LE is used for communicating with connected computers and other devices. At first, only Macs will be supported, but the team is rapidly working on support for Android, iOS, Linux, and Windows. The device's battery should last about four months, and it is replaceable.
Senic is seeking funding on Indiegogo to bring Flow to market. It is seeking US$50,000, and is about halfway there as of this writing. Backers who would like to preorder a Flow for a planned June 2015 delivery can do so for a minimum pledge of $99.
The Indiegogo pitch video below provides more information and shows Flow in use.