Touchscreens can start polishing their resumes now, because a touchless future is drawing closer for the next generation of smartphones. The ever-industrious Ishikawa Komuro Laboratory in Tokyo has enabled mobile devices to touchlessly recognize movements and gestures from user's fingers, according to Geek.com.
That success relies upon a high-frame-rate camera and algorithm which tracks a binarized finger image to estimate its 3-D motion and posture, a la Project Natal. The camera can interpret a gesture similar to clicking a computer mouse button if the movement is toward the camera's optical axis, by gauging the size change in the fingertip image.
That allows users to move their mouse cursor over a virtual keyboard and type by making a clicking motion. It also allows for zooming in and out of photos by simply moving the finger closer to or away from the camera, as well as a one-click picture grabbing action.
Given the Japanese lab's past work developing the fastest robot hands in the East and the fastest book scanner ever based upon a high-speed camera, this application may not come as a total shock. And there's a good chance that we could see the application appear in commercial devices sooner than MIT's Minority Report mouse glove.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.