A group of researchers from Microsoft, Newcastle University’s Culture Lab and Greece’s Foundation for Research & Technology have created a brand new device that tracks the hand without the need for any dedicated glove.
The device uses infrared sensors placed in a device that can be mounted on the wrist to track hand moves and thus provide a whole new way to control the surrounding electronic devices.
Basically, the Digits project could have a wide array of applications, such as controlling a specific device or even zooming in and out on a tablet device by “pinching” the air.
As you can see in the clip below, the new device doesn’t seem to be too comfortable, but researchers promise that future versions will be much improved in both the size and the performance.
“The Digits sensor doesn’t rely on external infrastructure, which means users are not bound to a fixed space. They can interact while moving from room to room or running down the street. This finally takes 3-D interaction outside the living room,” David Kim, a Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellow from Newcastle University's Culture Lab, said.
Kinect for Windows provides a similar way to interact with the surrounding electronic devices, but it’s a lot less accurate and requires users to stay in front of the sensors. The Digits sensor on the other hand allows you to move around and perform specific moves wherever you are.
“By understanding how one part of the body works and knowing what sensors to use to capture a snapshot, Digits offers a compelling look at the possibilities of opening up the full expressiveness and dexterity of one of our body parts for mobile human-computer interaction,” the Microsoft researcher concluded.