The Motion-Sensitive Laptop: Useful, but Not for Me

Loraine Lawson

I confess: I talk to my computer. Or, more precisely, I grouse at my laptop.


I didn't realize how bad this was until my daughter kept banging the keys on her toy laptop while sternly chastising it to, "Do what I say!"


"No wonder your Mom's keys keep popping off," my husband muttered.


So, obviously, I don't have or want a Wii. And likewise, I don't think I'd be a good candidate for the motion-sensitive laptop, developed by BT Research.


That's OK. I'm not the target demographic.


Technically, BT Balance isn't a laptop -- it's a combination adaptor and software solution that you can install on any laptop. The adapter contains a microchip called an accelerometer, which detects motion. The software helps translate that motion into commands.


Initially, BT Balance was developed to help people with disabilities or the elderly manipulate their computers. Still, there are obvious commercial uses, such as providing a simple interface for small devices. The article suggests it could also be used by someone trying to use their PC on a crowded commuter train, but, frankly, that sounds like a disaster waiting to happen when you're dealing with technology that monitors motion.


Apparently, the developers were inspired to create something that would be "as easy as using an Etch-A-Sketch," whatever that means. Personally, I've never been able to do more with an Etch-A-Sketch than draw a box around its perimeters. But as my family can attest, I'm also not the most patient person in the world, either.

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