Minority Report and Gmail Motion predicted gesture based software control but they forgot one thing: Humans are lazy.
Whilst just an April Fools day prank back in 2011, Google’s Gmail Motion attracted a lot of attention with the promise of intuitive, gesture based computer controls. Likewise, the gesture controls showcased in the film Minority Report a decade earlier amazed millions with visions of the ‘future of computing’.
But, what if instead of moving your whole arm to complete a motion gesture, you only needed to move a finger?
A gradual development of motion control and gesture recognition over the years has shown us that in practical use, motion control gestures don’t need to be large flailing motions. It’s not necessary to be swinging your arms all over the place. After all, like all animals, we humans want to conserve our energy for when it’s needed.
In addition, touch screens were a great innovation 15 years ago, but the lack of tactility made it difficult to touch type or control devices without looking directly at them. Our use of computing is increasingly mobile these days, so mobile devices needs to be controlled on the go.
New technologies such as augmented reality goggles meant a new input device was needed to replace keyboards, mice and touchscreens. And what better input device than the hands themselves? These developments have finally been realised in gesture sensing touch gloves and more recently — touch implants.
Swiping and typing: How gesture touch works
Gesture touch gloves allow faster, more precise and more intuitive control of computers and information. Wirelessly interfacing with an external display screen or augmented reality goggles, the touch gloves allow unparalleled control and dexterity. Multiple sensors on each fingertip and in the palm register every minute touch, swipe and gesture. Simply by touching your fingertips to your thumb or moving fingers across your hand, you can control most-any of your devices.
Essentially your hands become high-sensitivity touchpads that can cleverly interact with each other.
Swiping: Swiping a finger across your hand can flick between pages or photos or scroll through information. In fact, it operates much like Apple’s Multi-Touch — but in the palm of your own hand.
Typing: These new touch gloves have signaled a welcome evolution in touch-typing, one in which is faster, more precise and only requires a single hand.The best way to explain is a demonstration… Try it now, and you will see just how easy it is. Using only your right hand, tap your thumb with your different fingertips. This is gesture touch typing. Tapping different combinations at varying speeds allows you to single-handedly type out anything at all. And it’s quicker to learn than you think. Essentially, you’re touch-typing with one hand, simply by tapping your fingers onto your thumb.
These micro-gestures can be performed whilst in a meeting, on a train, or walking down the street. All without looking. You can even do most of them subtly with your hands in your pockets. You can switch between apps by clicking or close apps by ‘one hand clapping’ — essentially bringing your fingers down to your palm. And when you’re done, clasping your hands together will pause the input functionality of the gloves so you can use your hands for other things.
The gesture gloves also can communicate between people.
Shaking hands with someone glove-to-glove will wirelessly transfer you their contact details, in much the same way as a traditional business card exchange.
Or transfer a file to someone simply by virtually placing it in their hand. Of course, this is just the beginning and the possibilities for this technology are literally endless.
Going glove-less: touch implants
Of course, some of us don’t like wearing gloves — especially during warmer weather. As a result, many are beginning to have the sensors implanted directly under their skin, eliminating the need for gloves altogether. It’s a relatively simple and increasingly affordable procedure and can give an even more precise level of tactility and control.
If this trend continues, it seems that the future of touch gloves may be no gloves at all. We will all be able to control our augmented reality glasses using only our bare (sensor-implanted) hands.