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Data Glove That Turns Gestures Into Commands 212

Posted by timothy
from the gestures-as-commands-are-always-tempting dept.
ravidew writes: "Three students at Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, University of California, have built a motion-sensing glove that can transmit hand gestures to a PC. Within 3 years they hope to build sensors that are no bigger than 1mm and can be glued to each fingernail. Now you can really tell Windows what you think ..." While you're at the Sensor and Actuator Center, check out Kris Pister's smart dust.
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Data Glove That Turns Gestures Into Commands

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  • where the point was made that you might not want your pc to know where you hands are at all time... Dave, about last night...
  • by nurightshu (517038) <rightshu@cox.net> on Monday October 01, 2001 @07:40PM (#2376252) Homepage Journal
    Am I the only one who remembers where this will go? Check Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and remember -- in the future, you'll have to sit reeeeeaaaaally still to keep your PC from reformatting itself.

  • Me like.... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Kencordia (191269)
    f/p?

    Anyone remember Nintendo's glove-thingy? That was *awesome* for Punch-out!
  • now when mom walks by her 14-year old boy's room, all she has to say is, "why is the cursor going up and down so fast?" and >boom no more internet porn.
  • by FireFlux (522429)
    Tactile pornography, online boxing matches and virtual crocheting, the list just goes on. Now we can implement real skills into all those rpgs so people can make their godly platemail of the minotaur with their "own hands". Though I have this strange feeling that we'll see a lot of script kiddies doing the whole Johnny Mnemonic thing: "I can crash your system from here man" and skinning over their gloves with claws.
  • fdisk deleted my ext2 partition! crap!
    • That reminds me of the one about voice recognition. A sales rep is in the middle of doing a presentation for such a system when somebody in the audience stands up and shouts "FORMAT SEE COLON" and then another guy stands up and yells "YES RETURN".

      And yes, the moderators are humor impaired.

    • Oh well I guess *I* should stop smoking illicit stuff before posting to slashdot...I feel all stupid now that I read it, while it was a wonderful sentence a few minutes ago!
  • Great! Now when playing WolfTest I can actually grab the teamkillers and slap them silly! Woo hoo!

  • This looks familiar...

    Can I play Super Mario Bros. with this one? :)

    One a serious note, while it looks pretty cool, you can't help but think it will prove to be less useful than the traditional methods "used to decipher and translate hand gestures into computer interepreted symbols". Still, it's only there to prove it could be done. Who among the programmers out there wants to tell me if they;d find this useful?
    • Sure, I could use one. Not to replace typing, perhaps, but to augment. I would love to have phrases like 'foreach', 'while(', etc... mapped to a 'virtual key' of some sort.


      I'd use it more like a macro keyboard, really.


      -WS

    • I had one of those stupid gloves. I remember *begging* my parents to buy one for me. It ended up in the closet after about two weeks. it took an amazing amount of stamina to hold your arm pointed straight at the screen for the entire length of a game, and most of the glove-motion commands worked so badly you ended up using the built-in controller anyway!
    • Some more information can be found at the FAQ [spies.com].
      And some images are located there [dmu.ac.uk]:
  • But couldn't they have just hacked a Mattel Power Glove [hiwaay.net]?
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Monday October 01, 2001 @07:44PM (#2376274) Homepage Journal
    Of course, the gesture command for dismissing annoying pop-up ads should be obvious, depending upon whether you are using LOCALE=en_US or LOCALE=en_UK.
    • The American gesture is pretty easy to figure out for someone learning the culture, but can anyone explain to me the history of the British gesture? I once heard a crazy rumor that it had something to do with the French and archers.

  • If this catches on, we'll be typing with sign language.
    • Actually I saw an experimental device that was a glove that wrote out sign language to a LED screen and also had voice recongition. A 13yr old kid made(?) it for a science fair. His idea was that deaf people could "talk" to others.
    • If this is the end of the keyboard, why would anyone choose to use a glove over speech recognition software for typing? I'm sure that by the time this glove technology is perfected, speech recognition technology will have advanced even further.

      Besides, typing using sign language would also mean that millions of people would then have to learn sign language first before they could type. Whereas with speech recognition, there would be no time wasted in retraining people (i.e. employees).

  • I hope they are cheap, I keep hit my finger with a hammer (miss use of screws and nails normally). But I can't imagine hammering a silicon chip into your finger nail would be fun...

    But, they would have to be cheap anyway, since fingers nails grow and move and chips which didn't get damaged would fall off.

    Of course a whole cyberborg army is no match for a couple of really powerful magnets....

    I'm not getting the chip.....

  • What you need is a way to program the glove to recognize certain rythmic motions and to interpret that as writing code. Back and forth, side to side, whatever, it would have to conform to certain preferences of the user. These motions are then interpreted and translated into functions and subroutines for whatever application you are writing.

    "Few, I am exhausted. I just pulled off 10 lines of code!"

    "I just do not have any more code in me for today..."

    Now you can get back to your own sick mind.
  • by Red Moose (31712)
    So like Johnny Mnemonic yeah? Surely this can not be a new thing.......I thought those gyroscope things have been around for ages (e.g., that joystick that you held in mid air that detected where it was and whether it was upright, etc., ).

    Well done to them but unless they provide armrests my arms will get tired real quick. Think of the bodyguards in Payback if you don't see my point.

    It would look very cool to use them, but only if there was some 3D holographic display.......and it was....er....tactile...or something.

  • Gives new meaning to the "three fingered salute!"
  • Not very useful (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 (520073)
    I rather have voice recognition than hand gesture recognition... Its such a pain to gesture to a computer... Remember the 'Black and white' (game) gesturing thing... it took so long to get it to actually recognize the gestures... and there were only a few and they were only 2D... a human uses hundreds if not thousands of gestures that are very similiar... I really wouldn't want to be the person designing the software to interpret the gestures...

    Anyone out there do this sort of programming? How hard is it to get a computer to understand complex gestures???
    • Re:Not very useful (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Quizme2000 (323961)
      It could be useful for a mobile input device for PDAs and Laptops. I mean voice recon is fine, problem is you still have to talk out loud. If you're on a plane with a laptop and start shouting computer commands, your gonna get thrown off, maybe while it's still flying!
  • Interesting stuff. Power supply, optical and processing capabilities, sensory systems, all in a 1.2mm package.

    Massively manufactured, at large scales could make for some very interesting deployment opportunities...

    Of course, the nefarious applications for this sort of thing are pretty obvious.

    And yet, that still shouldn't be a reason not to develop this technology.
    • A friend of mine was a grad student there for a time, working with this prof. He said that the amount of power you could pump through a cubic meter of these puppies was serious impressive.

    • Does this remind anyone else of _A Fire Upon The Deep_ by Vernor Vinge? He coined a great phrase for this sort of thing as an enabling technology - "Ubiquitous Law Enforcement".
  • if ((finger2 == up) && (other_fingers == down)) {
    reboot -t now }
    else if ((finger2 == up) && (finger1 == up) && (other_fingers == down)) {
    rm -rf /* }
  • Attacking human-comp interfacing on all fronts is surely good, but optical and voice control are higher on the evolutionary scale than ever-more sophisticated manual data entry devices. Pyramidal keyboards, data gloves, et al are all variations on an inferior theme. Keyboards, mice, trackballs, joystics, are incredibly inefficient compared to how fast our minds and our computers can process data. That's the real bottleneck right now, not the bus or platter rotation. This glove is just a new and improved way to get carpal tunnel.

    There are already experiements with direct patching into the brain, and just think of the virus possibilities of running Outlook on that platform.
    • Seems to me people who can type 120 wpm can probably type faster than they can speak. Try saying 120 wpm. And people have been known to type 180 wpm.

      • "Try saying 120 wpm."

        You never heard any of the car dealer or furniture store spots I used to have to record where the client writes out about 90 seconds worth of copy and the station's salesperson adds about 30 seconds worth more and then expected me to do it as a 60 second spot.

        When I took a breath before hitting "record", the production room door bowed in.

  • by corvi42 (235814) on Monday October 01, 2001 @07:53PM (#2376308) Homepage Journal
    It was called a Nintendo Power-Glove.
    I've also seen schematics & drivers so that you can connect your power glove to a serial port & use it as a mouse replacement.
    • Close. You had to hook it up to the parallel port, though. The Power-Glove transmits at a different speed than what you can get with a serial port. You could only get it to talk to the parallel port with some hacking (they called it "bit banging").

      I tried it out. It seemed to have a lot of trouble detecting what I was actually doing. Perhaps it was because the receivers were so close to a wall, that it was getting echoes.

      • Or maybe it was because the powerglove was pretty much a piece of crap, and rarely worked with the hardware it was intended for (NES). Let alone a real PC with some trickery in between.

      • Close. You had to hook it up to the parallel port, though.


        Nope. Serial port. I had one hooked up to a Mac (RS-422A) to make a "MIDI theremin". The Glove's resolution was too coarse for melodic use, but it was good enough for drum samples ("Drum Kit Descending a Staircase: a Musical Homage to Buddy Rich and Marcel Duchamp").

        k.
        • You could be right. I might have been thinking about the SEGA glasses, that had a build-your-own interface in the same book.
        • I suppose there could have been a serial interface as well, but the main way of hooking it up, as was shown in the Byte magazine article was via the parallel port.

          And if I remember right, it didn't use metal in the fingers, but some sort of resistive ink that would change the amount of electricity based on the bend.
    • As an add-on to my last post, this also seems to be quite different from the Power-Glove. IIRC, the Power-Glove used metal strips to detect the bending of the fingers. It also required an L-shaped set of three receivers to be attached to the side of your TV, and used audio signals (sub-sonic frequencies, IIRC) to determine the location of the hand in 3-space.

      This thing, on the other hand (no pun intended, honest!), uses accelerometers, which are probably more reliable than the metal strips, and don't require any receivers. The down-side is that it won't give you an absolute position, unless you do some calibration (but the Power-Glove didn't do that either).

  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by 575 (195442) on Monday October 01, 2001 @07:56PM (#2376313) Journal
    The blue screen of death,
    My middle finger extends:
    Control-Alt-Delete
  • by Migelikor1 (308578) on Monday October 01, 2001 @07:59PM (#2376320) Homepage
    I don't know if anyone else remembers the powerglove, one of the silliest things nintendo ever released. The original nintendo system had the ability to accept remarkably versatile input, from a whole range of weapons (actually crappy cameras) to the tactile sensative power glove, power pad, and even a device that sensed hand position in midair with infrared(it folded open like a laptop and sensed the airspace above it.) I actually had the powerglove, and you know what? It was rather useless. No way making gestures is simpler than well placed keys. Anyone here who codes should understand that more mouse movement=less efficiency. I'd say that for now, we have to play on the computers' terms, and use a simple system relying on muscle memory that contains no ambiguity. Maybe eventually the computers can learn to understand subvocalized commands (like in the ender Quintet by Orsen Scott Card) or even mental ones, but until then, I'm afraid that the simpler the system, the better it will work. Mike Tyson's Punch Out really sucked when you actually had to punch with the glove!
    • Wow, I haven't thought of that game in a few years :)


      I seem to recall REALLY stinking at it...


      On topic, however, I think these have a lot more use than a power glove. I can see where major motions might be needed at first, but eventually they could detect millimeter finger travel, allowing for a 2.1 Million Key Keyboard, or some such.


      Of course, the best use is for operator controlled surgical/mechanical machines. Being able to duplicate the finesse of an expert in an environment that a human could never operate in would be wonderful.


      -WS

  • When it comes to video games, the wave of the future is force feedback, because when we get input from the input devices it makes them more intuitive to use.

    When we're actually trying to get something done with computers, we wave our hands in the air because it removes contact from devices, gets rid of all force feedback, and. . . well. . . er. .
  • Nintendo Power Glove.

    Used more for VR and hacking than any other interface in the early 90's. I was able to map commands to gestures in DOS, and to some limit in linux around 1996.

    The fact that it isn't bulky or cyber-looking like the powerglove was and hopefully it doesn't have that nasty Ultrasonic rangefinding.
  • Now you can really tell Windows what you think

    I like the one that looks out the back window.

    Oh, the software! I thought XP could read my mind and phone home about it.

    Really though, do you think the company that has yet to embrace multiple virtual screens and mice with three buttons properly, will ever use this? Sure, the prototype uses Win95 (at least they knew better than to use MS for web stuff. quoth the page, "meta name="GENERATOR" content="Mozilla/4.75 [en] (X11; U; SunOS 5.7 sun4u) [Netscape]"") Will MS really pick it up and make it available with their GUI? I think not. Xfree86 will beat them to real and invovative uses for the interface by years!

    Kudos to Hollar et al. This is a cool glove. MJ wants to know if you have one with rhine stones.

  • Just use the body heat powered thermoelectric system from a few articles back for power and you have an always-on, ubiquitous interface solution. Just think of the possibilities that this could have in public.
  • by jwkane (180726) on Monday October 01, 2001 @08:05PM (#2376338) Homepage
    Think about it. You have these sensors in each of your fingertips and any flat surface becomes an instant full-size keyboard.

    It also one-ups the mouse-keyboard combination, no more mouse/touchpad. Just lift your forefinger off the virtual keyboard and move the mouse pointer by pointing at the screen. Your fingers never have to leave the home-row.

    For those that can't touch-type, unroll a cheat-sheet and type on it.

    This will be a GREAT technology once it matures.
    • Let's say I'm playing CS. Not only would this help me position keys anywhere I wanted but instead of a mouse just point at the guy you want to shoot.

      I've seen, somewhere, a keyboard made for gaming (central arrowkeys with conveniently placed programmable buttons around it) but this would be that all hollow. Just think about it for a second... any key, any where you wanted it! Programmable, personalized, keyboards!

      (Damn, now I want one of these things sometime tomorrow).
    • Now that I think about it, I don't think this will replace keyboards until they can simulate some kind of tactile feedback to the user. (force-feedback smart dust?)

      Those roll-out mat keyboards have been around for some time. They drive touch typists nuts because they don't "feel" anything like typing.

      I personally still use an 8-pound IBM PS/2 keyboard because I crave the clickety-clack of those wonderful mechanical switches.
      • You might want to check out the SmartBoard [datadesktech.com] by Data Desk. It's a nicely laid-out split keyboard with low-force mechanical keys. It's a little loud, but boy does it feel beautiful. The layout might look odd to begin with, but I found it very easy to adapt and I'm a fucking fast typist. Plus it's only $70, which in these days of cheap Microsoft Natural knock-offs and $300 UberErgo boards [kinesis-ergo.com] is a pretty good deal.
  • "Good Amy, reboot the computer...you get a bannana if the service pack fixed the problem...good Amy, good monkey!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01, 2001 @08:07PM (#2376347)
    I did the same thing at UIUC back in '97...

    I used dual 3-axis accelerometers for the hand motion, and discrete switches to determine
    finger joint position. The wires were sewn into the glove directly.

    The result was very accurate hand movement, with the trade off of less complex finger movements.

    Needless to say, I like the idea. It is a _very_ natural interface for a lot of applications. The glove is a little unwieldy, but for some reason beyond comprehension, everyone who does this seems to build theirs around the heaviest winter glove they can find... What someone needs to do is to build this using discreet sealed components, on the outside of thin, air-holed neoprene (similar to a bicyclist's glove.)

    Also, the software is the key to whether this really works out. You need a virtual keyboard app (similar to what pen laptops use), plus a gesture pad (a la grafitti or CAD gestures), plus a standard mouse driver. (I never got around to polshing my software beyond anywhere other than manipulating a Rubik's-style 3D Cube. No, you couldn't acutally solve it.)
    • Hi. I'm very interested in what you designed and have a few questions. First, what kind of accellerometer did you use, and what (if any) kind of microprocesser did you use to gather the data from the accelerometer and switches? Also, did you publish any source code for the microprocessor or found any good documentation for finding positions in 3D via accellerometes, etc?

      I really hope the posting AC reads this ;(
  • I often ask myself how we will communicate with our technology in the future. People usually assume that it will be voice, however this is inappropriate in many circumstances, English has so much fluff that is unnescessary when communicating with a machine - "Hello Computer, please open my email client and show me new emails for today" might be fun the first time, but doing it every day would rapidly grow tiresome.

    The strange thing is that in keyboards and WIMP user interfaces, we seem to have reached a point where it is far from obvious where we can progress next. There hasn't been significant progress in user interfaces since the 1970s when Xerox Parc developed the mouse based interfaces which we all use today - oh sure, we have colour, and that paper clip, and skinability, but none of these are anything other than incremental enhancements.

    Many people are betting on 3D user interfaces, but I remain unconvinced that these will actually be useful, or that a 2D representation of objects in 3D would be better than the 2D representation of objects in 2D which we have now.

    Most new input devices are also variations on the mouse theme, be they light-pens (hardly new, I remember them in the mid-80s), touch screens, or these gloves.

    So the question is, have we reached a global optimum in user interface design, or is there some other approach that I haven't even considered that we will all be using in 30 years?

    • I often ask myself how we will communicate with our technology in the future. People usually assume that it will be voice, however this is inappropriate in many circumstances, English has so much fluff that is unnescessary when communicating with a machine - "Hello Computer, please open my email client and show me new emails for today" might be fun the first time, but doing it every day would rapidly grow tiresome.

      I agree completely. However, saying, "Open E-Mail. New. Open 4. Reply. Blah Blah Blah. Send. Close E-Mail. Open Browser. www.slashdot.org" is really easy. (Except for Slashdot... maybe consider a name change soon?)

      For me, this interface would be much better then mouse/ keyboard, because it's so fast. That's faster then now (I think) and it's no more, or even less, boring stuff. (Saying Open E-Mail is equivalent to clicking an icon).

      That's going to be the future interface, for most basic programs, in a few years... Heck, we already have voice recognition typing software! How hard can it be to step it up a notch?

      Oh, I'm also envisioning personalized commands, ie: "1" is analagous to "Open E-Mail" or something.
    • English has so much fluff that is unnescessary when communicating with a machine - "Hello Computer, please open my email client and show me new emails for today" might be fun the first time, but doing it every day would rapidly grow tiresome.

      I agree. English as a language is too ambiguous for computer use. And the way Americans (like myself) speak it makes it even worse as American English is fraught with homonyms.

      I know it will never be tried, but classical Latin would be far better for computer input, as it is the least ambiguous language I am aware of.

      Back on the subject of gesture input though, I think the Chinese will be able to put this technology to practical use sooner than anyone else. I count at least half a dozen fully-mature products from Hong Kong and Taiwan (I use Power Pen) that use a wacom pad to enter Chinese and English (and Japanese) language text into Windows PC's. With Power Pen, you can use the stylus as the only interface to the PC.

      The neat thing about Chinese is, if you draw the characters with the proper stroke order, you can enter entire sentences on the fly without lifting your pen.

      So if the glove mentioned could be rigged to run Power Pen, or something like it, so one could just write characters on the desk with their fingers, a Chinese person could use it as the only interface to their PC pretty much immediately.
  • Well more technically, Virtual Technology made 'em til Immersion bought them. Still it's available for purchase.

    What's more, they combine this idea with haptics, attaching motors so that when you interact with objects, they push back on you. You can even rest your hand on an object and have the motors support the weight of your arm. Very Cool.

    http://www.immersion.com/products/3d/intera ction/o verview.shtml

  • I see on the site the proposed fingernal size design has a very small RF Communication with Anntena chip. Do such things exist today? I'm working on something similar to this - ADXL 202 talking to a microprocessor, then to a central computer. RF communication is the next step, and Id like to use that rather than say...Bluetooth or XISPIKE to do the wireless communications. Anyone know?
  • if (hand.middlefinger == TRUE) {
    close(freakinAnnoyingBannerAd);
    }

    I can't wait.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday October 01, 2001 @08:22PM (#2376390) Homepage Journal
    A commercial company could come up with a plug in which takes your gesture data and analyzes it for certain well defined movements. Think about it:

    If:

    The crotch-scratching motion is detected on a regular basis, you might get more pop-up ads for Gold Bond Medicated Powder.

    Likewise, another common motion among those who sit all day might put some Preparation H commercials in your future.

    Your typical 13-year-old might get more porn adverts, 'tis true...

    The common nose-picking gestures might queue some Kleenex adverts up for your viewing.

    Yes indeed, we should all sign up for this technology as there is no doubt that it will improve our lives beyond measure.

  • From todays earlier piece on Thermoelectrics. [slashdot.org]. So eventually you have the fake fingernails that never need replacing and can control your T.V.. I just know what gesture I'd program for Jerry Springer.
  • by hoggoth (414195)
    Forget smart dust, I want smart liquid [sciam.com]!

    I want to be able to DRINK an upgrade and have it interface with me directly. A pint of CPUs on the house! That way I can drink and actually get SMARTER [barbelith.com] instead of the current opposite result.

  • We have to get away from these keyboards. If you think about it, it's not as natural as gestures. Imagine coding in sign-language...um, you'd get used to it.

    Anyway, I have a feeling, like gasoline, television and so many other legacy tools that are so entrenched in our lives, this will be slow to catch on. I'd like to be an early adopter but I'm not smart enough, heh...

    Our natural communication tools should be our interface to our machines...

  • by ColGraff (454761) <maron1 AT mindspring DOT com> on Monday October 01, 2001 @08:30PM (#2376409) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I know it wasn't the best movie ever made, but it had the goofiest dataglove gestures I've even seen or imagined. Gave new meaning to pointlessness. (Much like this post).
  • I had one of these in the late 80's.
    It was called the Nintento Power Glove.
    It let me beat up Glass Joe, the Hippo, and Mike Tyson.
    And it was grand.
  • Whatever you could do with this for computer input, I think it would also be very nice if you could use this for everything else. To give a simple example, turning the lights, the tv, whatever,... in your house on and off. More complicated example: lock/unlock your car. Off course, the last one (and possibly the in-house ones too, why not?) would require encryption.

    All this would be very neat though... remember that all tech that doesn't look like it's magic, is not advanced enough... /me thinks we're taking a big step in the right direction here :-)

    uXs
  • Joyd does essentially the same thing... why have a sensor when you can just move a stick?

    Prove to your local NT guy that Joysticks aren't just for Quake! http://freshmeat.net/projects/joyd/
    You can map a very large amount of commands to different joystick functions, from pushing one button, or moving 1 direction - to moving to corner, and pushing several buttons at once. You can also execute more than one command with just one function.
  • The first time you sneeze or cough or answer the phone you could end up with all sorts of gibberish, or maybe even rebooting your computer.

    It seems to me that you need some sort of disconnect override. Maybe some sort of camera that can tell when you're looking at the screen. (I seem to recall hearing something about that on here in the past...)
  • Any other Mac users out there remembers MacPlaymate [google.com]?
  • This is huge, once it works. Not only does it have applications in gaming, ie., imagine picking up the BFG and actually feeling the weight and the feedback (can it be those simulations be that far behind?), but imagine how it could change the entire way we actually operate our computers. Instead of GUIs, we'll be speaking of TUIs (Tactile User Interfaces). You'll be able to pick up that folder on your desktop (if folders are even used any longer). This is cool.

    Yet, I still think of Ender's Game and Infocom's A Mind Forever Voyaging and their ideas of immmersive technology. Leaps in AI (well, game AIs would create a reasonable personality to interact with), voice recognition, these controls and even the thermoelectrics in the earlier story means that we're stepping into territory where we have to take care.

    Still, imagine your PDA in 15 years...

  • My god, can you imagine the implications for the p0rn industry?

    The battle of the sexes will never be won . . . there's too much fraternizing with the enemy.
    --Randal
  • I can see devices like this used to control complicated Battlebots, combined with a headmounted display and voice commands. Forget a bunch of joysticks, buttons, and switches, just assign different functions to different hand movements. Or just put some robotic hands on it and literally grab and toss your opponent... There must be some weapons configurations that haven't been practical due to control system limitations. Now if I could just figure out a way to get them to let me start a project on this at work...
    • I think most people would nix the idea due to more things being on the "stuff that can go wrong" list. Simple buttons and switches like those found in joystick controllers are much simpler than accelerometers and other things necessary for a glove controller to really work well. I've seen at least one match where the controller died...I think we'd see a lot more if people tried to make the controller's systems more complex than is really needed.

      Gestures have problems usage-wise as far as I'm concerned...most people don't move their hands exactly the same way every time. So you have to make the range of motion for each gesture fairly wide so it includes enough of the common mistakes to work reliably. But those wide ranges start to add up fast, so you have to make the gestures themselves bigger so you can reliably differentiate between gestures. A finger hitting a button or a hand throwing a stick to the right has very little room for error. No "is that really right, or is it up and right?" problems. Not to mention the innate tactile feedback of a button is a great thing.

  • So with the combination of this and wireless control, we're going to start seeing people waving their hands around, controlling remote devices - really, it's going to look like (and I cringe when I say this) .. magic.
  • Just imagine this glove with force feedback. I'm not sure how it could be done, but that'd be freakin cool. An actual tactile ability to feel virtual objects.

    Of course, the first industry to adopt this will be pornogrophy. Imagine the new possibilities for cybersex!
  • by J.C.B. (141141)
    What does this thing have that the Nintendo Power Glove doesn't?
  • by Squeeze Truck (2971) <xmsho@yahoo.com> on Monday October 01, 2001 @09:52PM (#2376601) Homepage
    Just assign different "hand positions" to all the meta-keys the editor uses. i.e.:

    palms-down = normal
    palms-45-degrees = ctrl
    palms-sideways = alt
    palms-up (yikes) = meta (or whatever)
    etc.
    and "type" normally.

    And for vi, just turn your wrists sideways a bit to enter "edit mode."

    Never mind, this is a stupid idea.
  • "I love the Power Glove."

    Now, if only I can keep my kid brother from trying to get to a huge dinosaur statue in California...
  • Although the technology is certainly impressive, I have to wonder if this really would produce a better input device than the manual devices we now have:

    Can it be used to input text more rapidly than a keyboard?

    I doubt it. The example which comes to mind is how Palm decided to deal with the difficulties in handwriting recognition; that is, by devising their own alphabet and forcing the users to learn it, rather than designing software which attempted to understand each individual's idiomatic writing style. The designers of this glove interface would face the same decision -- and it's important to remember that many attempts at user-adaptive recognition have failed. So, assuming that users would have to learn a gesture alphabet to use the glove, how fast could they "type?" Although I've practiced Graffiti diligently, I seem to top out around the 30 wpm which Palm claims is the maximum. On the other hand, I can easily type 90-100 wpm on a keyboard.

    Can it be more intuitive and/or more precise than a mouse?

    Again, I doubt it. The screen, the tabletop that the mouse moves on, and the desktop software (X, Windows, Mac, etc.) are all designed for 2-D interactions. What's the use of having an extra degree of freedom with the controller? I'm sure that it would be possible to develop a 3-D desktop environment, but what about all of the 2-D standard applications? I doubt that I could get the same precision drawing objects in PowerPoint, for instance, using my whole arm (or at least my forearm) for hours a day than I can with a mouse. Fatigue would eventually cause a lot of inaccuracy.

    Speaking of fatigue...will this input device be more helpful for avoiding repetitive motion injuries?

    I'm not an ergonomics expert, but it seems as if you would be prone to repetitive motions of a different kind. Yes, using keyboards and mice for hours a day is a bad thing in the long run. But is trading carpal tunnel syndrome for, say, tendinitis in the elbow any better of a situation?

    I'm sure there would be SOME use for this kind of technology. But I don't see it as being a wholesale improvement over current input methods for the kinds of systems we have. Although I usually hate to use the word "paradigm" in polite company, I think it's fair to say that our whole notion of computing is built on a "flat paradigm", for better or worse. Ultimately, we will have to design different displays and ways of thinking in order to restructure our interactions with computers. It will take more than a glove.

    (Whew...got through the whole post without making one Michael Jackson joke...)

  • Virtual keyboards (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nemesisj (305482)
    I think that this might be useful in situations where a keyboard is needed sometimes but is inconvenient in other situations. If anyone here saw the Final Fantasy movie, you'll know what I mean - one of the characters prompted a holographic keypad/interface to come up which she typed on, and then caused it to dissapear when the bad guys came and action was needed.
  • Now all we need is a new clause in the Mafiasoft Windoze license agreement in addition to some innovative technology. The clause would state that you shall not flip off Mafiasoft Windoze. The technology would be a double-barreled shotgun mounted to a robotic base on top of the computer monitor. This shotgun would be fired by a solenoid controlled by Mafiasoft Windoze. Every time Mafiasoft Windoze detects that it's being flipped off, it will simultaneously perform two innovative actions:

    1. It will fire the shotgun at the user's head, roadrage-style.

    2. It will reboot and display the following message:

    Because Mafiasoft Windoze was not properly engineered, one or more of your hard disks may have errors on it. To avoid seeing this message again, uninstall Mafiasoft Windoze and use a quality alternative to this defective software. Don't call tech-support because they'll just tell you to Retry, Reboot, Reinstall. Do not make illegal copies of this error message.

    Mafiasoft: Where do you want to pay today?

    • As a side note, Mafiasoft could license these technologies to the MPAA and RIAA. Every time Mafiasoft Windoze or an application detects that the user is trying to play a copyrighted song, the user will be shot in the head. This will be stated in the license agreement, which every person in the world, upon birth, will be required to accept (Mafiasoft's monopoly will cover the right to breath oxygen by the time this is implemented--if you do not accept the terms of this license agreement, well, let's just say you have to accept the terms of this license agreement).

      For innovation's sake and added convenience, Mafiasoft will implement hooks for VBS files to fire the shotgun as well. By leveraging these innovative technologies, virus providers will streamline compelling virus solutions.

      (You know what? I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if something retarded like this actually got released by that company.)

      Mafiasoft: Where do you want to pay today?


  • Sounds like what Jaron Lanier [barberusa.com] was doing 30 years ago. You can read all about it in Howards Rheingold [rheingold.com]'s excellent book Virtual Reality [rheingold.com] circa 1991. (not to take away from their efforts.)
  • Imagine one of these things with force feedback. Online Arm Wrestling. :)

    On a more serious note: More accurate long distance surgery.
  • There are more applications of Smartdust at http://basics.eecs.berkeley.edu/sensorwebs.

    The most salient feature is that the small size and capability for independent operations allow Smartdust motes to be used just about anywhere, to enhance/complement existing tools.
  • Over the last 10 years or so, I've seen tons of this lowend VR stuff try to pop-up and fizzle right away. The PowerGlove is about the only glove device - IIRC this is due to some patent that VPL has on "using a glove device for input".

    And there have been tons of 3d glasses that have come and gone - I've even got a video card in my machine that has a special hookup for 3d glasses and of course you can't find any.

    So, is there any chance of this stuff ever making it onto the shelves of Best Buy or CompUSA?
  • Now you can really tell Windows what you think ...

    That would be like giving sight to the blind. I've yet to come up with wording to describe what I think when I use Windows. let alone a gesture that would do suffice. ;o)
  • Nothing new (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hasie (316698)
    There's a little company in Pretoria (in South Africa) called 5DT that has been producing data gloves that can be used as a mouse for quite a while now. Check out these links.
    Their homepage. [5dt.com]
    Their hardware page (includes data gloves). [5dt.com]
    One of the data glove pages. [5dt.com]
    • Ack! Gaa! Look at the prices! $500 for a glove, $1000 for a wireless version. And that's the budget glove! The good one is $3950/$4450 for the tethered/wireless versions.

      You have got to wonder exactly who they are selling these devices to. University research departments, probably. ;)

      That said, this is a really informative post. Thanks for it, I'm thinking good karma thoughts your way.

  • Now in order to reboot Windows, all you have to do is flash your computer the bird.
  • I can't find the obligatory Beowulf post :-) It's actually applicable here - one of the more interesting things to do with Smart Dust and similar locator technologies is for them to talk to each other about where they are and to detect changes in their relative positions. It's not just a server thing. Vernor Vinge's book "A Deepness In The Sky" has a lot of discussion about what you could do with locator smart-dust; it's obviously speculative fiction, but it does a great job of looking at the potential for technology.
  • Vernor Vinge's book "A Deepness In The Sky" has a lot of discussion about what you could do with locator smart-dust; it's obviously speculative fiction, but it does a great job of looking at the potential for technology. Think about the effects of small (fictionally nanotech, but really small is probably enough) devices that communicate with their neighbors, have some computing power, and can do relative location detection. What could you do with that?

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.

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