You Feel Me: Norwegian Company Works on Touchless Interface for Windows 8

14 Nov

This is the beginning of the natural progression of user interfaces for people. The Norwegian company Elliptic Labs is doing some ground breaking work in this area. The possibilities for its use from personal to professional are almost endless. Of course the cool, sci-fi factor cannot be ignored.

We have seen over and over again the imagination of television and movie creators get played out into real life technology. Look back at 1960’s science fiction and compare it to today. It really is amazing how much has come into being in such a short time. And the time from idea to reality keeps getting shorter and shorter.

People have seen Minority Report with this idea on display. I have seen it in an older TV show called Earth Final Conflict. In either case, once again we at the starting line of reality producing TV and movie imagination. How will this technology work?

Interestingly enough does not rely on cameras like Microsoft Kinetic. Instead it uses ultrasound technology to track movement and translate it into commands. According to the Elliptic Labs website [1] ultrasound technology has the following advantages:

  • Wide field of view
  • Distributed sensing
  • Leading edge detection & range gating
  • Accurate time-of-flight measurements

Which, according to Elliptical Labs, means more precise, accurate controls. When someone is not touching a physical surface, precise control is a very good thing.

The company has three products so far [2] . First is a a Windows 8 Gesture Suite which, “takes advantages of the powerful new touchless gesturing technology from Elliptic Labs and brings touchless gesturing to Windows 8.”  Second is their own Elliptic SDK described as a, “set of controls allows you to use hand gestures for scrolling, selecting, rotating objects and controlling menus.” Finally is the starter-kit which appears to include the Elliptic SDK as well as a preconfigured laptop for development which they say will allow “ultrasound based touchless gestures without designing your own hardware.”
While Elliptic Labs looks to market their technology to PC’s, laptop, tablets and smartphones, one can imagine even more possibilities. What about a TV with this technology built into it. Multiple stations or streams which can be moved around the screen. Possibly a refrigerator with a display which could be used to keep track of groceries. Or link the two and “sling” a show from the TV to the fridge while making a run to the kitchen for a drink or snack.

It’s a brave new world out there and definitely a fun time to be in the technology field.

References:

  1. Elliptic Labs – Technology
  2. Elliptic Labs – Products
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