Invention: pseudo 3-D visual control cues on accelerometer-equipped display devices

Which is a fancy way of saying tablet or mobile phone.  This is so simple that it’s probably been done.

Image an on-screen control like a button object.  Typically I’d use a bit of a false drop-shadow to give the illusion of 3D.  With a phone that can sense movement, though, you could vary the position of the drop shadow in response to changes in position.  With devices that support ambient light sensors, you could also vary the strength of the shadow.

Imagine a UI with a single, “3D” button in the middle of the screen, with the device being held level.  The in-UI light source is coming from directly above the button, which is to say roughly where the user’s head is IRL.  As the device it tilted right (right side down, left side up), a simulated shadow is displayed on the right side of the button, growing longer as the tilt angle increases.  If you wanted to get gnarly about it, you could also begin to foreshorten the button image itself.

I whipped up a demo of how this works, deliberately exaggerating the side-to-side movement of the light source.  Take it from me, even a fast laptop makes a sucky render farm.  If, for some reason, you want the source for this, it’s a Blender file: http://gutenberg.vsi.dom/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/3d-button-shadow.blend.

Note: Depending on your version of Quicktime, your settings therefore, and the phase of Jupiter’s odd-numbered moons, you may have to single/double/context click the movie to get it to play.  You may have to wait for a month with two blue moons and then sacrifice an insurance sales rep to get it to play.  In case it’s not playing, you can download/watch it from here: http://gutenberg.vsi.dom/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/



Huh.  I’ve been Googling for something on this but am not having any luck.  This seems incredibly obvious.  What am I missing?


Neato timeline control

I haven’t been able to get the Silverlight ActiveX control to work in CStudio, so I can’t use this there, but it’s still pretty nifty.  I’d like to use this along with a BSS stuffed with webcam images.

If you haven’t seen it, here’s an Ajax timeline control (and others, too.)  The author below specifically references the Simile project, which is a nice shout-out.


With this silverlight and WPF control you can create interactive timelines. The control is inspired by Simile Timeline Control (which is implemented with ajax). It is completely based on templates and styles, so it is possible to provide different style for events and timeline itself. Please suggest features and vote for the project if interested.
The control is developed under LGPL license which means that you can use xap and dll files in commertial projects at no cost to you with the only my polite request to mention on your web site. That may help other people to find the project and contribute to it.


User and developer documentation located here:

PostVerta – Roman goddess of the past

sketch of a design for a UI to allow browsing alarms and associated images, or vice versa, via a variety of navigation mechanisms.  Designed for use by pointer only, if necessary.

The red arrows mean “previous/next critical (red) alarm” and the yellow mean “previous/next warning”.  You could extend this model to incorporate add’l graphic signifiers, to ease use on non-keyboard devices.