There are few things that are as annoying as trying to get work done when an endless parade of pop-ups, pings and notifications demand your attention. But hopefully the irritation won’t last for long now, thanks to the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Japan.
The big brains there are working on a pressure-sensing technology that can auto-block alerts when it knows you’re hard at work. It can tell because the system monitors the force you’re using on your keyboard and interprets that to determine when you’re trying to get stuff done and when you’re not. So far measurable results are surprisingly good — 80 percent of volunteers reported accuracy during testing.
Now that alone is an accomplishment, but the researchers aren’t done yet. They hope to build a smart system that can also hone in on “quiet” time: Ideally the computer would be able to distinguish when you’re, say, focusing on an analytics report, versus swigging an ice cold one while that video buffers, and then launch actions accordingly. This would involve pressure-sensitive mats that can gauge changes like shifts in elbow pressure and how often you lift up your soda.
The work was just presented at the Ro-Man conference in Paris, France, which means that we’re pretty far off from seeing a consumer release. But if this can get some polish on it, it’s sure to become a hit with modern PC users.