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Smart Shoes Step ­p the Wearable-Computing Pace

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This prototype demonstration shows from above how a person could use pinch gestures to operate a smartphone. In actual use, the phone would not need to be held in the other hand, and the shoe sensor would be small enough to fit in a shoe.

Credit: Screen capture by Martin LaMonica/CNET

Researchers at the universities of Munich and Toronto have developed ShoeSense, a type of wearable computing system for smartphones.

ShoeSense involves a sensor being placed in a shoe that is able to understand customizable hand and arm gestures. For instance, a user moves his finger along his forearm to raise the volume on a music player in his pocket, pinches to choose the next track, and then pinches with three fingers to send an "I will be late" email to his wife.

ShoeSense's developers say it could be more socially acceptable to operate a smartphone via arm and hand gestures than through glasses, as would be the case with Google's Project Glass. "ShoeSense introduces a novel and unique perspective (from the shoe), making it possible to recognize discreet and relaxed, as well as large and demonstrative, gestures without the need for cumbersome hats or body-mounted sensors," the researchers say.

Analysts note that much of the research in computing interfaces and wearable computers focuses on the new possibilities for combining the digital and physical worlds using sensors.

From CNet
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