1. What is it about
The scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise uses gestures to search through a large amount of visual data to find what he is looking for is perhaps the best representation for this technology. Hand gestures and body movements have far more variety than the current mouse and keyboard-based input systems. Gestures can be executed faster and we are more natural at doing them. Controlling any computer device from PCs to mobiles to Display Walls can all benefit from this technology.
2. Where is the fun
- Imagine when computers become so advanced that they can recognize the pattern of our behaviour through our body language. Day after day, they observe us and record our movements. Our personal computer eventually learns that at specific times we might be grumpy, happy, restless, sad, etc. Once they become more familiar with our patterns, they can start helping us dynamically. Imagine if your computer can try to make you feel better if it thinks you are unhappy.. As soon as it recognizes that you are not as happy as you should be at this time of the day, it may start some music to cheer you up, make your environment lighter and display a scene from a beach in the Caribbean with big blue sky and white sand. You may not even realise that the computer is trying to make you feel better. You may simply just feel better as if by magic. Of course, all of this is instructed by you, so the computer can be commanded to do things you don’t want it to do at certain times. Your computer will become your own dedicated guardian, always observing you, learning about you and trying to help you.
3. What are its Applications
Gesture-based inputs are well suited for entertainment and game industry. Early demonstrations such as Wii show how entertaining this can be.
Your gestures can be captured by well-positioned sensors or cameras in any environment. For example, a number of cameras in your home can track you anywhere you go throughout your house. All you need to do is to make a gesture and the computer will get your command. You may program your computer for your common tasks with specific gestures. You may even use a sequence of these gestures to carry out more complex task. Video walls can show the result of your commands and audio can be played back to you which mean you can make further commands based on it.
4. How developed is it
Wii and Microsoft Surface are the current mainstream products that offer gestural interface though they are both in very early stages. There is also considerable ongoing research. Here is an effort to control Google Earth with gesture gloves.
5. How can it be improved
Ultimately hand gestures may not be enough and you want the system to recognize your entire body language. Even more, you want it to know the pattern of your movements, so it can correctly guess if you are signaling to the computer or are just working in your own environment. Finally, you could do away with gloves, or the need to stay within the range of sensors. You may wander around in your environment knowing that the computer can always see you no matter where you are.
6. What does it lead to
Eventually we will be able to get rid of the keyboard and mouse as the primary input systems and rely more on gestures, touch, speech and body language. We will be immersed in a world with computers surrounding us everywhere we go and we get to use them more naturally than we do today.