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Gesture-Based Computing Takes a Serious Turn

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Gestural interface

Oblong Industries

Call me a creature of habit, but I approach any new computer interface with a sense of apprehension. I'm downright inept when it comes to playing video games on the Nintendo Wii: The wand controller is just too foreign to my mouse and keyboard-entrained muscles. I feel that familiar sense of unease as I stand in a nondescript brick warehouse in downtown Los Angeles.

I am at the headquarters of Oblong Industries, developers of the G-Speak gestural computing interface, and I'm about to trial its system for controlling computers through hand gestures.

I find myself surrounded by a cage of metal scaffolding, which houses the system's 16 near-infrared motion detectors, as John Underkoffler, Oblong's chief scientist, boots up the system. I'm amidst three large screens, and above me three projectors beam images onto them. A fourth overhead projector, pointing onto a white table, serves as a fourth screen. Underkoffler insists that the G-Speak is targeting hardcore number-crunchers, not gamers, but the rig looks like it would be more at home in a rock club than an office.

From New Scientist
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