Synaptics today introduced Fuseâ„¢, a collaborative mobile phone concept, demonstrating the future of user interaction for handsets. Integrating for the first time multiple interface technologiesâ€”including multi-touch capacitive sensing, haptic feedback, 3-D graphics, and force, grip, and proximity sensingâ€”the Fuse concept phone showcases exciting new mobile device usage models. In addition, Fuse demonstrates to device manufacturers the value of ecosystem collaborations providing a model for designing multi-modal interfaces that will optimize the user experience on next-generation handheld device. Every step in the value chain affects and is affected by the end product. A truly collaborative approach takes advantage of each partnerâ€™s unique contributions in benefiting the user.
Beyond Todayâ€™s Touchscreen
Fuse extends the now-prevalent touchscreen-based user experience first unveiled in August 2006 with Synapticsâ€™ award-winning Onyx mobile concept. With Fuseâ€™s bold lineup of innovative interface technologies, Synaptics and partners tackle the difficulty of single-handed usage and the need to look at the screenâ€”two key challenges faced by on-the-go users in current-generation touchscreen phones.
Fuseâ€™s innovative sensing technologies surrounding the entire device enable quick, intuitive, single-handed navigation. For example, grip sensing achieved via force and capacitive touch sensors on the sides of the phone allows the user to execute common controls such as pan and scroll. In addition to the novel side sensors, Fuse introduces for the first time, 2D navigation from the back of the phone. This feature offers yet another mode of effective and fun single-handed control without obstructing the display or enhanced usability, Fuse combines multiple sensory input and feedback technologies including active 3-D graphics and next-generation haptic effects.
â€œConsumers have many options when it comes to choosing a smartphone, and though many phones are loaded with applications to simplify oneâ€™s life, they often accomplish just the opposite,â€ said William Stofega, research manager for mobile device technology and trends at IDC. â€œSynaptics partnering with innovative industry leaders to deliver an intelligent concept device that has the consumers’ lifestyles in mind will help showcase the true potential of the smartphone.â€
The Fuse mobile phone concept is the result of a unique collaboration between Synaptics and four global partnersâ€”TheAlloy, The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), Immersion, and Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI). With human interface and digital lifestyle in mind, the Fuse design team created a stunning and functional user interface with innovative new modes of sensing input, and visual and haptic feedback.
Each partner provided valuable expertise and contributions to the project:
- TheAlloy led the user experience and overall product design efforts.
- TAT enabled the effective 3-D environment and lent their extensive user interface software design skills.
- Immersion made possible the tactile feedback, ensuring an integrated and satisfying experience.
- TIâ€™s OMAPâ„¢ 3630 processor provided the framework and platform to leverage the enhanced multimedia, graphics and imaging features that consumers crave.
Additionally, Synapticsâ€™ ClearPadâ„¢, NavPointâ„¢, and TouchButtonsâ„¢ solutions are used in the Fuse mobile concept to offer unique capabilitiesâ€”such as two-finger input, proximity sensing, grip sensing, text entry, and high-resolution finger inputâ€”providing precise pointing and navigation that can dramatically improve and enhance the user experience with a touchscreen.
Future handset innovation will rely on the relationship between technology design and designers to unlock the potential of mobile phones as an ideal computing platform. Fuse illustrates to OEMs the advances in Synapticsâ€™ sensing technologies and the collaborative effort that will inspire a new wave of multi-modal input design.
â€œThe best touch experience requires the expertise and collaboration of ecosystem leaders to optimize what the user sees and feels,â€ said Gopal Garg, senior vice president of Synapticsâ€™ handheld business unit and corporate marketing. â€œThe improved sensory experience of Fuse will drive handset innovation to evolve, taking the current generation of touch-based interaction to the next level of human-device interaction.â€
â€œThe Fuse project has demonstrated the power of multi-party collaboration to deliver experience-led innovation, said Gus Desbarats, chairman, TheAlloy. â€œEach partner within the Fuse project has helped to show the effect that leading-edge technology can deliver when applied with design thinking.â€
â€œExceptional user experience differentiates the best designs,â€ said Craig Vachon, senior vice president and general manager of Immersionâ€™s touch line of business. â€œFuse exemplifies the power of collaboration and realizes what is possible by integrating innovative technology, including Immersionâ€™s next-generation TouchSense solutions. Working with these partners has been gratifying; Fuse is further validation that our haptics technology brings to life the power of touch and makes devices more intuitive, satisfying, and fun to use.â€
â€œProviding our technology in order to showcase user experience paradigms of next generation devices is one of the key ingredients that keep TAT ahead of the trends in mobile user interfacesâ€, says Charlotta Falvin, chief executive officer of The Astonishing Tribe. â€œRealizing design ideas that push the limits of technology like the Fuse UI does is one of our passions.â€
â€œThe world is changing, and so is the way people interact with their mobile devices. TI is excited to be a part of the innovative Fuse concept that reiterates the significant headway weâ€™re making to advance mobile user experiences,â€ said Fred Cohen, director of worldwide ecosystem partners for Texas Instruments. â€œTIâ€™s OMAP platform works in sync with these other impressive technologies to bring big-screen, life-like capabilities to consumersâ€™ fingertips.â€
Fuse will be demonstrated during CES in Las Vegas at the Synaptics, Immersion, and TI meeting areas, and at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February.