The current motion and gesture control exploits have thus far been inefficient and tedious — something we all learned the hard way when Microsoft released the original Kinect. It turns out pressing down on a D-pad to navigate Netflix is a much better way to start watching Archer than hoisting your arm in the air until it gets tired. However, if you didn’t have to hoist your arm, and could instead make a minimal movement while your hand is already in a resting position, then gesture control would become much more viable. Microsoft Research has devised a keyboard that takes cues from the Kinect in order to provide that effortless gesture control experience.
The keyboard is simple enough. Little low-resolution infrared proximity sensors have been placed in between the keys. Though the sensors are low-res, they can still detect your run-of-the-mill gestures, such as pinching to zoom, swiping, hovering with your hand, and tapping the air with your finger.
Gesture control for your keyboard has been attempted before. Not too long ago, the tech world briefly flipped out about and subsequently became very disappointed with the Leap Motion. The Leap Motion is a little rectangular device that sits near your keyboard or monitor, and grants PCs the power of — essentially — the Kinect. Unfortunately, the Leap didn’t work very well, but not because making gestures above your keyboard is inconvenient — the device just didn’t work very well. It may be weird to say after all this time, but the Leap Motion was a good idea, replacing the trackpad with the air above your keyboard. Microsoft building what is basically an in-keyboard Leap could potentially be the next step toward competent gesture control.
In fact, this type of device could alleviate a common problem when using Windows 8. The operating system was glaringly and infamously made for mobile, working best (and enjoyably) on tablets. However, using an interface made for touch-swiping on a desktop remains a chore. Being able to manipulate a swipe-heavy interface while still being able to rest your hand on a desk or keyboard should be a much more comfortable endeavor.
Source: extremetech.comAdded: 2 May 2014