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The Puzzlebox Orbit

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Innovation Almanac: No More Double-Clicking

Tired of dragging that mouse around? Three Bay Area companies are developing amazing new ways to interact with technology.

Why use a mouse when you can just wave your hand?
Bryant Street–based Leap Motion’s motion sensor lets you control your computer with a sweep of your hand—useful for just about anything but typing. Grab and drag a window on your desktop by actually grabbing and dragging. To shoot a bad guy, just squeeze your trigger finger.

Why move at all when speech will suffice?
MindMeld, by local tech outfit Expect Labs, is a video chat app that “listens” to your conversations and provides (supposedly) useful information along the way. Instant messaging with a friend to plan a day in North Beach? Relevant maps, photos, and reviews will pop right up.

Why speak when simply thinking will suffice?
San Francisco’s Puzzlebox sells a toy helicopter that’s guided solely by raw brainpower. With an EEG attached to a headset, the company’s “brain-computer interface” picks up the brain’s electrical activity and, when your concentration reaches a certain level, launches the Orbit, a battery-powered whirlybird. It won’t be long, says Puzzlebox founder Steve Castellotti, before we’re using similar headsets to change TV channels, turn on lights, and, one day, move a cursor on a screen.


Read More of Our Innovation Almanac:
Stanford's Benign Mind Control
The Forever Clock
Bacteria Mapper
Fire Station Health Care

Cree: Building the Future
No More Double Clicking
A Friendlier Vibrator
Social Networking for Disaster Prep


Originally published in the April 2013 issue of San Francisco.

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