Think of Robert Downey Jr.’s hands flying through holographic displays in Iron Man, Tom Cruise sorting criminal backgrounds with a flick of his fingers in Minority Report: Gesture-based technology has been a part of popular consciousness for years. No longer only within the realm of science fiction and gaming, gesture-based computing is taking the tech world by storm. Below is a roundup of expert predictions on what we can expect for the remainder of 2016 and beyond.
1. Wearable Technology Will Be Everywhere
Project Jacquard, announced by Google and Levi’s to great applause in 2015, lets users accept or reject phone calls with the wave of a hand, and offers infinite potential for movement tracking. Ivan Poupyrev, Google's technical program lead, told “Computerworld,” “Your hand can be a complete, self-contained control. Your hand can be an interface. It can be the only interface device you ever need for your wearables.” The first jackets reach stores in 2017.
Wearable typing gloves, such as the Gest gesture control toolkit and the Tap Strap keyboard, in addition to wearable mouse technology, are also revolutionizing personal computing in an increasingly laptop- and tablet-driven global workflow.
2. We Will Learn with Gesture-Based Computing
Removing the traditional keyboard-and-mouse-driven computer learning systems and letting students interact directly with virtual reality promises huge advances in education. Researchers from the Technological Educational Institute of Crete and from Aalborg University in Copenhagen are using this technology to help children with autism, who often have motor-skills issues that limit use of traditional computer games, to learn to recognize facial expressions in others.
Experts also are predicting that gesture-based computing will fuel an increase in virtual learning environments.
3. Our Cars Will Get Even Smarter
“No need to fiddle about reaching for the volume control or tapping the screen on your Sat-Nav,” Patrick Vernon wrote in MBTMag.com. “The technology of gesture control could mean you just wave your hand in the air to turn on your radio or control your Bluetooth systems.”
In 2015, BMW released the first gesture-controlled components of a vehicle, including the ability to accept or reject incoming calls. German automotive supplier Continental Corp. unveiled a concept steering wheel that lets drivers use smartphone-like gestures to control driving modes, audio and other features.
"These gestures are intuitive for the driver and are very closely based on the familiar operating methods of smartphones and other smart devices due to the transparent gesture panels,” Ralf Lenninger of Continental told Today’s Motor Vehicle. “This simplifies the dialog between driver and vehicle, even for more complex applications, and driver distraction is minimized as well.”
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