What if the touchscreen on your tablet computer or smartphone responded to different kinds of touches?

Last year, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers created TapSense, a tool that registers new kinds of touches. As you can see by the video embedded above, this gives developers more options in defining actions–making games, typing programs and email reading a more sophisticated task. As blogger Mike Cane tweeted: “GAH! So obvious, it’s GENIUS!

Check it out: “By attaching a microphone to a touchscreen, the CMU scientists showed they can tell the difference between the tap of a fingertip, the pad of the finger, a fingernail and a knuckle. This technology, called TapSense, enables richer touchscreen interactions. While typing on a virtual keyboard, for instance, users might capitalize letters simply by tapping with a fingernail instead of a finger tip, or might switch to numerals by using the pad of a finger, rather toggling to a different set of keys.”