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.
i think a great innovation would be to have it track both hands as if you were typing on a real keyboard. then smartphones and other devices would have large jump in efficiency
I don't care. I *still* want to touch the screen. I need tactile feedback to type, and I imagine I'm not the only one.
i have enough trouble now trying to type on a touch screen. why the heck would i want to type in mid air?
Very cool stuff!
To .45's comment -- I think using an input system like this will be more like using a mouse than using a touch screen. With a touch screen, your fingers often cover the buttons you're trying to push, and that's part of what makes it feel awkward. This new system puts an actual cursor on the screen instead of a big finger. Seems like this would make it much easier to me. It's just like clicking buttons with a mouse cursor, minus the mouse.
Devil is in the details. Right now it looks awfully awkward.
I want it
Is anyone else reminded of the Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy?
"For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive — you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme."
Best book EVER.