The Bar of Soap Project is an attempt to build a totally generic device that can automatically change its appearance and control surface to allow it to be used as a huge variety of devices. That is, it will have a generic touchscreen that will change based on the task the user wants to accomplish. The whole surface will be covered in touch sensors and audio I/O will be embedded within. The device, when off, should look like a bar of soap -- an undifferentiated block of plastic.
For the Fall 2006 Pattern Recognition class, we have built a prototype that attempts to detect what the user wants to do by classifying how that person is grasping the device. For example, people hold cellphones in a particular way that is distinguishable from the way in which they hold a TV remote control.
Final Presentation Slides:
(with annotations in the 'notes' field of each slide)