Touch-screen devices are steadily taking over the world, but one Norwegian tech company is already trying to move us into a future touch-free interfaces. Elliptic Labs will be at CES 2011 to show off its latest creation – a dock attachment that will enable a whole new way to interact with an iPad using gestures made just above the screen’s surface.
New Scientist ponders what this kind of tech might be used for :
Imagine you’re reading a cake recipe onscreen and you don’t want to get flour or butter on your £500 gadget: simply sweeping your hand in front of the screen will allow you to turn to the next page. Ditto engine oil/axle grease covered hands when you’re reading a motorbike manual. Clearly, applications in sign language beckon, too – and gaming of course.
Hardware-wise, the whole bag of magic works by using ultrasound signals and measuring the time it takes for them to be returned by your hand. This method of tracking movement makes the system a cheaper alternative to the infra red one used by hardware like Microsoft’s Kinect according to Elliptic Labs’ Stian Aldrin. Cheap is good!
If you’re heading to CES in January this sounds like one demo you won’t want to miss, I know I wish I could test it out!