I recently visited the Deutsche Telekom Labs in Berlin, known as T-Labs. T-Labs are carring out basic and technology research that focuses on developing future-proof applications in a wide range of areas. Their research projects develop existing technologies based on the continuous scouting of forward-looking trends. One research team there is looking to usability as the mean to greatly improve the quality and, with it, the sales of interactive products. This team is exploring new ways of interacting with mobile devices.
They had the idea of a touchless data entry system that is based on the interaction between the magnetic fields around a device and a properly shaped magnet. The magnetic field that surrounds the device is generated by a magnetic sensor (compass) that is embedded in the new generation of mobile phones such as Apple iPhone 3Gs and 4G, and Google Nexus one. The small magnet could be worn for instance on a finger, if it is put on a ring: as the hand is moved around the mobile phone, the 3D interaction is measured and transformed in a command. This gestural interface extends to the peripheral area of the device without needing any extra element. The interface can be used to perform certain tasks, based on the pattern of the movement. These tasks can vary from entering a text or digit into the phone to turning pages or zooming while reading an e-book.
Here you can download and see a video of MagiWrite in action.