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University of Calgary's Fat Thumb trick allows one-handed phone use, jugglers are thankful (video)


Everyone's let it happen at some point -- that moment where we're desperately trying to use our smartphones in one hand while juggling groceries or coffee in the other. There'll be no way to recover those social graces, but six researchers at the University of Calgary have developed a software technique, Fat Thumb, that should at least keep the contortions and dropped phones to a minimum. As the name implies, it's all based around pressure: a light touch performs the usual commands, while squishing the thumb's wider surface area against the screen allows the equivalent of a multi-touch gesture, such as a pinch to zoom. The advantages for comfort and grip virtually speak for themselves; what's surprising is that Fat Thumb may well be faster than other one-handed gestures. Work on the project is so far confined to a research paper stemming from experiments with an iPhone, although it's easy to see this spreading to other platforms and real products before too long. Catch a glimpse of the cleverness in action after the break.

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