Have been working on a project for the past couple weeks that initiated to fill a personal need in my work flow, and it has generated a set of tools that could be of use to a wider audience. This post is halfway between “Project” and"Software"
Background: I’ve used Rhino3D since its pre-release beta days. The way my work flow has evolved, I use the mouse in the right hand and the keyboard in the left for entering keyboard shortcuts, standard operating procedure. I have a few rows of icons left on the screen, but most have been eliminated to save screen space. It occurred to me that the icons could go onto the nearby iPad and free up more screen space and reduce the keypresses to one tap.
“rhinoTap” (working name) was born. I developed a working application that looks like this:
Function like this, near instantaneous reaction to the command line. HD video is also available in the YouTube player.
Works great, and during development also built another set of tools to organize build the menus and the associated files. No menu is a one fit solution, and myself, as well as other users would require customization. Based on that, from the start, the customization tool was built online. Here is a screenshot of the very basic, very alpha interface that allows creation of a custom menu. This is a screen grab of the web interface.
wow, that´s awesome.
i thought about doing a project for fun that would be like that, taking a seperate touchscreen which is able to show the shortcuts/icons for the programm you are currently working in.photoshop, rhino, SW,…
but it is great that you actually built it and that it works!!!
the ipad is a a very good fit as base!
Great idea… it’s even cooler that you’re actually making it!
Myself, one thing I would miss is tactile feedback. You don’t want to always be glancing over at the touchscreen, right? But, the advantage of the screen seems to be that you could changing button graphics.
Maybe you could have both by integrating something like this on the ipad screen:
I ordered a pack for a project recently and seems absolutely perfect for touchscreen interfaces - gives you the best of both worlds.
This one is out there too, got some samples of it too - perfect for mobile gaming
What would be really ideal is producing custom button shapes-sizes to fit one your key-command hand and then mapping an onscreen interface under the bumps … everything accessible and changeable. Like a touchscreen optimus keyboard
Alright! On track for a killer app if it actually sells hardware.
I was thinking that some kind of physical interface overlay would be a good thing, conductivity is key for taps, clarity for readability, I thought of something like a router cut 1.5mm thick PC sheet or similar. Considering also that almost a physical “puck” could be mounted mid screen and allow radial selection, although the sightline becomes obscured.
The online menu generator could generate a cutter file as well for a custom cut overlay. Delicate balance between pure tactile and visual feedback.
Will pm with the details over the weekend. Right now running in Windows only, Rhino versions 4&5. Will require purchase of an existing app on the app store (that’s the way Apple works) as the functional middleware to the Rhino menu system.
as I got into this, I found existing approaches for Photoshop and various remote controls. There are a lot of possibilities opened up if you consider contextual commands being opened up.
it would be interesting to see if you could make either a hardware or an app or both that provides the functionality of working with many different programs, and having a online accesible database of commands which can be extended by the users, open source kind of. then following users could choose from that and arrange them however they want on their available touchscreen… group them together to get more on little screens would be nice too
just what my ideas were
i didnt know that you could use the ipad as controller for windows. is it via the cable or something else?
that’s exactly what I was thinking for a touch screen too… those stick on buttons in the pics above are kind of basic, but the material conducts and it could be moulded in a nicer way, perhaps with some thickness and somewhat depressable.
would be cool to be working, then reach over, locate your hand, and recognise the ‘keys’ without looking… especially if the radial buttons were nicely sculpted
Tactile really has something going for it. Pure tactile I’ve considered in the past have been the Monome system, but the lack of visuals make it a very hard system to convert directly to specific command input. Really rely on memory and rote usage.
The same concept from a commercial company in the Launchpad, which would be possible to duplicate with a translucent thin tablet overlay…
I saw a set of conductive raised button domes the other day black disk in a clear dome, I thought at the time that it directly obscured the icon, but I realized that offsetting the graphic and having a tactile button might be the way to go. The fling button that Travissimo posted is a nice tactile arrangement. Carbon filled rubber aor TPE no doubt to transmit the conductivity.
These guys have a cool approach for allowing a user to build a custom menu system and set it up in an own configuration.
and the classic system of conductive in silicon dome, but these closed a gap when pressed and are slightly different, no conductive contact with the user. Combining this into an overlay with graphics on the ipad or similar could give and new version of the spacepilot type system at a fraction of the 500$ cost.
Can imagine physical conductive joystick pucks that and even rotary dials as a tactile interface to something beautiful like the TouchOSC app. http://hexler.net/
Okay, ready to launch the beta. This is my first time doing a online collaborative development, so bear with me if it is initially rough. I’ve set up a forum on my site for discussion of the details. The concept is in alpha-beta stage, but working. Some Rhino3D commands are not yet fully coded, but it is possible to modify the elements and enter your own keyboard codes after downloading the menu files. The system is easy to grasp and I will answer any questions that arise.
The beta testing requires purchase of a iTunes store existing application, cost is $6.99, the rhinoTap system is currently built on top of that, getting around the iTunes vetting and approval process and the heavy lifting of network coding. Since I have not affiliation with the company making the app, your choice to participate and buy the app is up to you. Participation in the beta process will get you the working final rhinoTap menuing system at no charge (depending on number of menus generated, there maybe be reasonable limits established at a later date). I intend to commercially develop the application, and I have cleared the usage of the icons with Bob McNeel of McNeel and Associates for this application.