MIT Made a Smartphone Control a Computer With a Simple Touch

Have you ever held your smartphone up to your laptop screen and thought about how cool it would be if the two devices could work together, physically? Well now, thanks to a team from the MIT Media Lab, they can. New software lets you use your smartphone as an extra interface for a computer, and it looks awesome.


It's called THAW. The team that designed it describes THAW as "a novel interaction system that allows a collocated large display and small handheld devices to seamlessly work together." THAW makes it possible not only for the phone to become a new interface for the computer, but it also adds an interactive graphics layer. The software uses the smartphones camera to track its position on the screen.

The team shows off a number of different use cases, many of which involve gaming. However, one of the tricks allows you to transfer files between your computer and smartphone by simply dragging then from one screen to another. Just imagine how convenient that would be if you're in a rush at the office and need just one file off your desktop. Just touch the back of the phone to the screen, drag it on, and you're done!

THAW is just a research project for now, but the Media Lab is known for turning school projects into reality. Just look at Jibo, the world's first family robot. The project grew out of a Media Lab professor's research and is now one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history. People do love robots, though. [MIT Media Lab via Prosthetic Knowledge]


Les Mikesell

That's just backwards. What I want, is if the phone is near my computer, is to be able to mouse off the screen in it's direction and have that transfer the keyboard control to the phone so I don't have to type on the tiny little thing.