Sony Move, Microsoft Kinect accelerate wider use of gesture control
Gesture control, featured in the Sony Move and Microsoft Kinect video game systems launched at the 2010 E3 conference, are just the start of gesture-based interfaces, say researchers and industry professionals.
E3 – the video game industry’s annual confab – is over. And while Sony and Microsoft debuted their new hands-free gaming systems, "Move" and "Kinect," hoping to win bragging rights before they go on sale in the fall, the real message for the rest of us is that the age of gesture control is officially
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And that age has arrived not just for the gaming enthusiast eager to control entire virtual worlds with a real-life kick or punch, but for, well, everyone, say analysts, industry professionals and researchers. Whether it’s an emergency body sensor that sends paramedics to a security guard who collapses on duty, a bridge repairman who guides tools through a complicated fix without ever touching them, or a movie fan who stops at a digital movie poster to “throw” digital fireballs at the film’s star while he waits for a bus, it’s hands-off time all over.
With even some of the most powerful, sophisticated, and expensive technology on the planet, buttons and wires are fast becoming passe. Forget the remote,
the controller or even the simple on-off button. Dance lessons may help more. It’s all about the wave of a hand, the crook of a finger, or the jaunty kick of a leg.
“The demand for this technology is just blossoming into the mainstream,” says Wayne Meyer, MEMS Marketing and Applications Manager for Analog Devices, Inc., a manufacturer of the tiny chips that run everything from farm equipment to iPhones. The type of products doesn't seem to matter, he says, adding, “everyone wants to be able to say they have this application somewhere in their system.”
Motion-sensing technology has been around in tailored applications such as airbags for decades. But the recent success of gesture-run software in gaming systems such as the Nintendo Wii and the now-familiar “pinch and spread” smart phone navigation feature has propelled it into the mainstream, says researcher Mark Bolas of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, where his work is funded by the Department of Defense. Microsoft funds his work as an associate professor in the Interactive Media Division of the University's Cinema School.