It’s happening – gesture controlled technology is taking over.
But wait, hasn’t this already happened?
The Microsoft Kinect certainly was a big step forward when it was released back in October 2010. The unique touchless interactivity between player and console brought new players from outside the gaming realm; ordinary, neckbeardless people from beyond the D&D demographic were snatching up Kinects at an actual record-breaking rate.
The people had spoken – this was cool technology.
But there’s so much more to be done with gesture controlled technology, and startups and crowd-sourced projects seem to answering the call.
Most recently paraded in tech publications is Myo, an armband device making headlines for its ability to pick up on the electrical output in your forearm muscles. And while its site may be basic, what is available is promising: an impressive demo video, an affordable preorder price tag ($149), and a shared API with the expressed desire for developers anywhere and everywhere to go beyond what the Myo team has dreamed up and create new uses for the device.
Then there’s the Kickstarted Mycestro Fingermouse, another wearable device from the nebulously named Innovative Developments. The product itself is, however, quite aptly named. Worn on the end of the index finger, the device can be used to control the cursor as well as other advanced computer functions. Highly sensitive, Bluetooth compatible, and functional up to 30 feet away, the Fingermouse can be yours for a mere $79 pledge.
At four years old, Leapmotion may be the veteran to the group of gesture startups. But instead of a wearable product, the Leap Motion Controller is a thumb-drive sized device that sits in front of your computer to create a gesture controlled environment, similar to a Kinect, but with improved sensitivity and function. The cheapest of all three at $69 for a preorder, why not at least see what all industry buzz is about?
Technology like this, similar to the 3D pen recently featured on this blog, has great design implications. Imagine molding a block of virtual clay, never having to pick up a shaping tool, wash your hands, or pay for expensive materials. Likewise, the ability to easily manipulate exploded assembly views for design and parts management will be a huge benefit.
And while purists may have a point when they say, “What about the value in actually touching and working with the materials?” It’s hard to deny the success of Photoshop, even without the dark room and developing chemicals.