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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Microsoft Digits controls any gadget without touching
You need hands,as the song says. But if you want to control gadgets without touching them, you also need Microsoft Digits, a wrist-worn sensor that turns your hand movements into tech action.
The prototype sensor makes a 3D model of the wearer's hand movements, in real-time, to control your gadgets. We're getting into Minority Report territory here, folks.
Ditch the game console controller and just shoot onscreen baddies with your finger-guns. Turn your hand like you're twisting a volume knob, or open and close your hand, and you could adjust volume, or zoom in and out. Or tap your fingers on your palm and you could dial a number on your phone without even getting it out of your pocket.
Press play on the video below to see how it works.
The sensor sends out an infrared beam across your hand, then measures the distance of the beam to work out how much your fingers are bent. A second infrared system lights up the hand with invisible light to record where your fingertips are.
Unlike Kinect, Microsoft's arm-waving motion detection system for the Xbox, Digits doesn't need you to stay within range of a sensor. You could wear it indoors or while out and about, interacting with all kinds of different devices wherever you go, all from the one device on your wrist.
Digits has been put together by the backroom boffins at universities in Cambridge, Newcastle and Crete. The current prototype still has a few issues to iron out, and is at this stage only built from off-the-shelf parts, hence the chunky appearance. If this idea were to make it to the public, developers plan to reduce it to the size of a watch.