While software bugs are definitely something to get rid of, Google intends to put “hardware bugs” on your smartphones and tablets.
Only that these are, quite literally, bug-like devices designed to crawl over the touchscreen.
But why? According to this newly published patent, these bug-like robots are intended to scan the image displayed on the touchscreen and convey the image’s features to visually impaired users through a voice based system.
To this end, these bug-like robots are equipped with a camera that faces towards the touchscreen and is designed to detect visual features such as lines, colors and patterns.
All that a user is required to do is place these robots onto the touchscreen at a predefined spot such as the corner of the screen. The robots being completely autonomous, then move over the display screen scanning and detecting the visual features.
For example, when a map is displayed, these robots can detect and follow a particular line on the map representing a route. While the robots are moving, the user may place a finger on the robot and receive a haptic feedback in the form of vibrations when the robot is near a landmark. Along with the vibration, the name of the location where the robot is may be played over a loud speaker. This allows a user to build a mental map of a place by interacting with the robots.
Although targeted towards blind users, others who just want a new way of interacting with their touchscreens may also look forward to touching these “bugs”.
Publication number: US 9,372,095
Patent Title: Mobile robots moving on a visual display
Publication date: Jun 21, 2016
Filing date: May 8, 2014
Inventors: Charles L. Chen; Tiruvilwamalai Venkatram Raman;
Original Assignee: Google Inc.