Researchers find the best way to press a button

When all you have is a finger everything looks like a button . But what happens if you’re unable to press buttons or, more likely, we begin using robots and other tools to interact with the real world? That’s what researchers at Aalto University, Finland, and KAIST, South Korea wanted to find out when they started examining how humans tap buttons.

“This research was triggered by admiration of our remarkable capability to adapt button-pressing”, said Professor Antti Oulasvirta at Aalto University. “We push a button on a remote controller differently than a piano key. The press of a skilled user is surprisingly elegant when looked at terms of timing, reliability, and energy use. We successfully press buttons without ever knowing the inner workings of a button. It is essentially a black box to our motor system. On the other hand, we also fail to activate buttons, and some buttons are known to be worse than others.”

During their study, they assessed the push buttons – buttons with actual travel – were more usable than touch buttons and that the best buttons were the ones that reacted at time of maximum impact. The researchers created something called “Impact Activation.” These buttons activate only when they are fully pressed, thereby ensuring that users will know exactly when they are and are not tapping a key on a keyboard or even a musical instrument.

From their release:

The simulations shed new light on what happens during a button press. One problem the brain must overcome is that muscles do not activate as perfectly as we will, but every press is slightly different. Moreover, a button press is very fast, occurring within 100 milliseconds, and is too fast for correcting movement. The key to understanding button-pressing is therefore to understand how the brain adapts based on the limited sensations that are the residue of the brief press event.

The researchers argue that the key capability of the brain is a probabilistic model: The brain learns a model that allows it to predict a suitable motor command for a button. If a press fails, it can pick a very good alternative and try it out. “Without this ability, we would have to learn to use every button like it was new,” tells Professor Byungjoo Lee from KAIST. After successfully activating the button, the brain can tune the motor command to be more precise, use less energy and to avoid stress or pain. “These factors together, with practice, produce the fast, minimum-effort, elegant touch people are able to perform.”

How can we use this information in our daily lives? Well, this research suggests that high-travel, clicky keys with switches from Cherry and other “tactile” keyboard makers could be better for us, neurologically, than keyboards with less precise travel. Further, it shows us that the best interfaces are physical and not touchscreen, something that anyone who has tried to play touchscreen-based fast-twitch video games can attest.

Further, the researchers discovered that button pressing is an acquired skill and perhaps we were right to force ourselves to let Mavis Beacon teach us keyboarding. “We believe that the brain picks up these skills over repeated button pressings that start already as a child. What appears easy for us now has been acquired over years,” said Lee.

Danish E-Commerce Payment Provider Clearhaus Announces Support for Apple Pay

Danish acquirer Clearhaus today announced support for Apple Pay, bringing Apple’s mobile payment platform to over 5,000 Nordic online merchants who use the e-commerce payment institution.

In October 2017, Apple Pay was introduced to Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, where top Nordic banks like Nordea, Jyske Bank, Edenred, N26, and ST1 quickly adopted the digital wallet system, allowing physical stores across the region to accept contactless payments with iOS devices.



Online payment gateway solutions and acquirers like Clearhaus, which has 20 percent of the market share in Denmark, have since been following suit.

“The emergence of mobile-friendly payment technology like Apple Pay proves that consumer behavior is changing – and webshops will need to adapt quickly. It’s an easy, secure payment method, with the fastest checkout in the market today. That’s why we have cooperated with our partner, QuickPay to bring Apple Pay to over 5,000 webshops in the Nordics.”

Clearhaus serves 7,500 merchants in 33 countries across Europe with secure payment solutions for accepting Visa and Mastercard online.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Discuss this article in our forums

Artificial iris responds to light like real eyes

The human iris does it's job of adjusting your pupil size to meter the amount of light hitting the retina behind without you having to actively think about it. And while a camera's aperture is designed to work the same way as a biological iris, it's…

Ferroelectric material could make your smartwatch run longer

Elon Musk's big plan involves charging your electric car with shingles that are solar panels. While that's incredibly impressive — not to mention ambitious — it uses only one form of alternative energy. Finnish scientists have a different idea: har…

Magic Leap goes to Finland in pursuit of Nordic VR and AR talent

Magic Leap Florida-headquartered Magic Leap has set up a company in Helsinki to gain access to Finland’s vast, Nokia- and gaming-driven reservoir of VR and AR talent. In July, Magic Leap registered a company in Helsinki with CFO Scott Henry as the chairman of the board. The company did not return my request for a comment. The Finnish VR and AR companies I spoke with would not confirm or deny… Read More

Autonomous buses take to the busy streets of Helsinki

easymile ez10 Make way for robot! Two driverless buses will be hitting the streets in Helsinki for some real-world testing for the next month or so. The EasyMile minibuses have previously been tested on public roads in Finland and elsewhere, but this is the first time they’ll be mixing it up with everyday traffic there. Read More

Finnish startup Adaia set to launch $1,300 Android phone in 2014

Finnish startup led by exNokia employee to launch expensive Android phones in 2014

Nokia’s turmoils, and subsequent mass layoffs, have freed up plenty of smart people in the Finnish workforce to do their own thing. Rovio with Angry Birds, Jolla with Sailfish and now Adaia. The 16-person startup, led by former Nokia employee Heikki Sarajärvi, has revealed that it plans to launch a range of premium Android handsets at some point in 2014 in the US, UK and of course Finland. By premium, we’re looking at anywhere between $1,300 to $6,500, in return for the promise of extra ruggedness and durability as well as potential satellite connectivity. Why Android? Heikki says “there is no alternative”, something we assume Stephen Elop would strongly disagree with.

While there are no pictures to share today, local publication Digitoday got a chance to play with a prototype. They say the phone has a 4.8 inch screen and features the ability to hot-swap batteries without needing to turn the device off, though admittedly that hasn’t been fully ironed out yet. One thing that might potentially turn some people off, aside from the exorbitant price, is the phone’s weight — final units are estimated to come in at between 240 and 250 grams, which is 60 grams heavier than even Nokia’s tank-like Lumia 920. We’ve reached out to Adaia to request pictures and find out what all that bulk consists of.

Filed under: Cellphones

Comments

Source: Digitoday (Translated) (1), (2)