gesture control

Smartwatch mod uses accelerometer to “see” objects, gestures

Smartwatch mod uses accelerometer to “see” objects, gestures

Smartwatches are nifty hi-tech toys, but, unless they mature soon, they will remain as such, toys. In the face of competition from more focused, not to mention cheaper, smart fitness bands, smartwatches have a hard time breaking out of its niche market. That, however, doesn’t mean smartwatches aren’t capable. In fact, even run of the mill ones pack a piece of hardware that, when fine tuned and exploited, can actually make the smartwatch feel like a device from the future. And that hardware is none other than the accelerometer.

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Bixi lets you control devices with Jedi hand waves

Bixi lets you control devices with Jedi hand waves

We’re probably still a few decades away from a Minority Report computer display and interface and we’re definitely a few fictional universes removed from having enough Midichlorians to be Force-sensitive. So anything that gives us a semblance of telekinetic abilities, with hand-waving of course, is more than welcome. And there are a lot of those today. But what sets Bixi apart, at least based on its promise, is that it is the smallest, cheapest, most accurate, and most rugged gesture recognition device you’ll ever need to control anything from your smartphone to the GoPro camera sitting on your head.

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WatchMI adds more smartwatch controls without adding hardware

WatchMI adds more smartwatch controls without adding hardware

Most smartwatches these days, except for the likes of the Pebble, have touch screens that try to make using these wearable devices easier. But unlike the bigger touchscreens on our smartphones, the surface area of smartwatches make it harder to utilize multi-touch gestures. As such, most of the time users are limited to taps, tap and hold, and swipes. Researchers from the University of St. Andrews are proposing a new interaction method they have dubbed as WatchMI, which adds three more touch-based gestures to any smartwatch, without requiring additional hardware at all.

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ForcePhone lets you squeeze your phone to do things

ForcePhone lets you squeeze your phone to do things

When Apple introduced Force Touch and 3D Touch, it expanded the vocabulary of gestures we can use on smartphones by 1. However, it is still touch-based, short of mind control, the number of ways we can interact with our smartphones are basically limited to touch, voice, and some rudimentary Jedi hand waves. Engineers from the University of Michigan are working on yet another gesture, one that is both interesting yet almost comical at the same time. They want you to be able to squeeze your smartphone, not to death, but to control it.

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Knocki makes any surface a smart remote control

Knocki makes any surface a smart remote control

If you watched much TV in the last decade or so, you will remember the commercials for The Clapper. This was a gadget that could turn off the lights for you if you clapped. The modern version of The Clapper is a new device called Knocki that is able to turn any surface into a remote control for all manner of devices and software. Knocki attaches to a surface and turns that entire surface, be it a table, wall, or counter, into a touch interface.

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Elliptic Labs shows first Ultrasound UI for smart devices

Elliptic Labs shows first Ultrasound UI for smart devices

Fortunately the folks at Elliptic Labs are not making smart wearable devices for fetuses. What they're introducing instead is the world's first "EASY IoT software" that works with Ultrasound presence detection and gestures to command smart devices of all sorts. This is an Internet of Things-centric technology, detecting your body or just your hand, setting itself into waiting or active mode, ready to be used at your command. It's sort of like a remote start for your car - you're not in the car yet, but the car is already running.

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How Apple’s VR hire leads to a gesture-controlled car

How Apple’s VR hire leads to a gesture-controlled car

Apple reported to hire Doug A Bowman, a virtual reality specialist, 3D interface specialist, and computer science professor at Virginia Tech. Bowman is also Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech, and primary investigator for the 3D Interaction Group at Virginia Tech. This group participates in a "worldwide community of scholars and researchers in VR, AR, and 3D UIs". It may be that Apple is dipping their big toe into the virtual reality universe - or it could just be that Apple is thinking about how to make their Apple Car a unique proposition indeed.

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Elliptic’s Ultrasonic gestures for mobile can make you feel like Jedi

Elliptic’s Ultrasonic gestures for mobile can make you feel like Jedi

While this year we might see more and more manufacturers adopt "3D Touch" technology for their touchscreens, Elliptic Labs is trying to push a different way to make more expressive controls for smartphones and tablets. Almost llke a Jedi, Elliptic's ultrasonic gesture recognition system can let users wave or "force push" their way to taking selfies, playing games, or just simply navigating around the smartphone. And best of all, at least for OEMs, they won't need specialized hardware to make it all happen.

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Myo gesture control band controls MPL prosthetic arm

Myo gesture control band controls MPL prosthetic arm

The Modular Prosthetic Limb has suddenly become a lot more versatile as the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory-developed prosthetic works with the Myo armband. The Myo armband is a gesture-control accessory that allows people to control all manner of devices and software as it senses movements in their arm*. Muscles expand and contract and the armband sends signals wirelessly to other devices. In this case, it means that the armbands are able to give this MPL arm movement.

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FingerAngle challenges 3D Touch with finger angle recognition

FingerAngle challenges 3D Touch with finger angle recognition

Researchers at Qeexo, a spin-off of Carnegie Mellon University, have developed a technology for interacting with touchscreens that easily rivals Apple's 3D Touch and its pressure-sensitivity features. It's called FingerTouch, and instead of relying on display hardware, it's an algorithm that can determine the exact angle at which a finger is making contact with the screen. Because it's software based, it can work with the existing display hardware that's widely available.

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Strap can read arm muscle movement to control smartwatch

Strap can read arm muscle movement to control smartwatch

There have been several attempts made to give users Jedi-like powers to control computers and smartphones using a combination of a smartwatch and some gestures. But what if you wanted to control the smartwatch itself using a gesture? It might still be a long time coming as a commercial product, but the journey has already been started by researchers Chris Harrison and Yang Zhang from the Human Computer Interaction group at Carnegie Mellon U. Their prototype wrist strap can see inside the arm and track muscles, which can be interpreted as gestures to control a device.

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New Synaptics touch controller could give Android a 3D Touch

New Synaptics touch controller could give Android a 3D Touch

Apple introduced the idea of a new way of interacting with touch gestures, first with Force Touch and then with 3D Touch on the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Naturally, it will become the next trendy technology that everyone will vie for. Luckily for everyone else, Synaptics has come out with some new touch controllers that could give smartphones like those running on Android exactly that. Calling it ClearForce, Synapitics is introducing a new way to interact with smartphones and expanding the current gesture beyond the current tap, swipe, and pinch.

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