Sure, the Kinect can recognise gestures your full body makes. But wouldn’t it be nice to get the finer details of hands and fingers reflected accurately on-screen? And better yet, wouldn’t it be grand not to have to stand in the tiny square of living room that the Kinect can pick you up in?
Microsoft’s research division in the UK certainly thinks so, and has developed the Digits wrist-mounted controller in response. It’s wearable hardware: a wrist strap recognises and tracks the movements of a user’s hand, and can reflect them on-screen. Edge reports that the prototype “currently responds to a number of gestures, including twisting imaginary dials with pinched fingers, tapping on a virtual number pad, zooming in on an image by clenching your fist and making a gun shape with your hand and firing by pressing down your thumb.”
The gadget won’t be replacing a gamepad anytime soon, but the Daniel Kim, the project leader at Microsoft, says that in the future, “We want users to be able to interact spontaneously with their electronic devices using simple gestures and not even have to reach for their devices.” As the video above shows, users wearing the device can interact (somewhat comically) with devices that are safely stowed away in a bag or pocket.
It’s no trampoline, but on the other hand it has more potential and applications than a trampoline, too. And it gets us one weird step closer to computing by magic gesture, as in the sci-fi worlds of Heavy Rain or Minority Report.