Friday, June 4, 2010

Toshiba introduced AirSwing - a gesture-based UI system in action (video)

I still remember playing Prince of Persia on my 486 computer. Those were the days. (wow I feel old) Back then no one could possibly imagine how computer would evolve in past 20 years. Who would have thought of YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Netflix and of course new devices to interact with those service like iPhones and iPads. What’s interesting is that I am still using the same keyboard and a mouse to interact with my computer exactly like 20 years ago.
Of course there is a touch screen and voice activated commands on some operating systems, but most of us still use an old fashion mouse and keyboard to interact with out computers either with a wire or without one.
Not for long! Toshiba recently introduced a new way to interact with your computer. Well we all know that Opera and guys from MIT research group were there first. So, what makes Toshiba’s AirSwing so special? The main difference is that Toshiba allows users to use regular webcam. No other expensive hardware needed. You can just attach your camera to the top of your screen and you good to go without worrying about substantial CPU resources. Now you can easily move and zoom into pictures and what not just by waving your hand in front of the camera.

In fact, according to Toshiba their UI system uses only 3% of the processing power of a 400MHz ARM 11 CPU -- meaning that you have plenty of processor left for running other programs. The way it works is that the display shows a semi-transparent image of the user, a menu and the content the user is supposed to interact with. It’s then possible move around or select pieces of content, for example flick through photos in a photo gallery, simply by making gestures.


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