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Summary:

Updated: Using gestures to control your computer is one of those sci-fi dreams that most of us find fun to imagine, but don’t expect to ever incorporate into our everyday lives. But after reading about the AcceleGlove over on OStatic, a $500 glove that comes with a […]

sorcerers-apprenticeUpdated: Using gestures to control your computer is one of those sci-fi dreams that most of us find fun to imagine, but don’t expect to ever incorporate into our everyday lives. But after reading about the AcceleGlove over on OStatic, a $500 glove that comes with a software development kit so it can be programmed to control applications, I started thinking about how I could use gesture to make my day a little more fun (and active). My vision requires the aforementioned glove and possibly a pretty sharp video camera, or a whole set of video cameras, to make gesture controls even more effective. Feel free to tell me how this will or won’t work in the comments, or let me know what else I would need.

  1. I could add a physical component to answering emails by opening mails and deleting them with hand motions. Think of Mickey Mouse directing the chores in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
  2. I could rig it so that I could read my RSS feed without touching the screen or keyboard while working out on my elliptical in the morning.
  3. I could alternate between using my mouse and my fingers. My aching thumb and wrists would love this.
  4. I could try to use it for gaming, although I think that I’d probably still suck at all racing and first-person shooters.

That’s MY wish list. In the last few years I’ve seen some companies pushing their own hopes for gesture in the form of actual products or published patents. Check them out and see what y’all can come up with for your own motion-controlled computing dreams.

  1. Samsung’s gesture controlled phone is just an idea, but we all had fun with it.
  2. Organic Motion’s software renders images from a few video cameras into a 3D avatar that can be used for more realistic virtual worlds.
  3. Thanks to Intel’s researchers, there’s the option of playing full-body Tetris.
  4. Apple’s iPod Nano allows a user to shake it in order to skip songs.
  5. And who could forget the Nintendo Wii?
  6. Update: Chris over at NewTeeVee pointed me to a Hitachi gesture-controlled TV.
  7. He also sent over information about the Loop pointer by Hillcrest Labs, which uses gesture to control your PC.

image courtesy of IMDB/Disney

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  1. No one actually does, but this is all stuff that you can do using voice-commands in Vista (and Windows 7, I presume). It’s actually pretty powerful and accurate, requires little training… but no one actually uses it. Web-browsing by voice is not nearly as quick and easy as by mouse and keyboard, but if you’re in a situation where you can’t use either, voice-control is pretty functional.

    I think voice-command is preferable to gestures, both now and going forward. Sure, you can’t have everyone in a cube-farm voicing commands all the time, but it could be great for the home. Saying “Close that” is a lot easier than flinging your arm to the side. Saying “Open Firefox” and “go to Gmail.com” is a lot easier than gesturing a cursor to a fixed location on a screen, then trying to type by waving your arms around.

    This isn’t the future, either. This is all stuff that you can do today.

  2. Joe Franscella Friday, July 10, 2009

    Why am I reminded of Tom Cruise in Minority Report?

    http://www.wikinomics.com/blog/uploads/minority-report-ui.jpg

  3. Several movies and TV programs recently – since Minority Report (in 2002) – have used displays similar to the Milan table from 2006.

    Giving the finger to my computer works no better than giving the finger to my Indian ringneck bird when he squawks sharply enough to rupture my eardrums. However, I believe a computer that utilizes gesturing might have some meaning associated with that particular gesture sometime in the future.

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