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October 10, 2012

Microsoft develops prototype Digits hand-gesture sensor bracelet

Digits can accurately generate 3D-models of the hand's movements of the user onto a screen

By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Research lab has developed a prototype Digits hand-gesture sensor bracelet that can accurately generate 3D-models of the hand’s movements of the user onto a screen.

The prototype is part of an effort to develop a mobile device that would allow users to control equipments like smartphones through hand gestures.

According to the firm, the prototype gadget, with electronics self-contained on the user’s wrist, will optically image the complete hand of the user, allowing freehand control of range of tools using hand gestures.

Developed at Microsoft’s computer science laboratory at the University of Cambridge and supported by researchers at Newcastle University and the University of Crete, the new prototype could be deployed as a virtual TV control, to operate a smartphone and to play video games.

Project leader David Kim said the Digits sensor doesn’t rely on external infrastructure which means users are not bound to a fixed space.

"They can interact while moving from room to room or running down the street, Kim said.

"Ultimately we would like to reduce Digits to the size of a watch that can be worn all the time.

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"We want users to be able to interact spontaneously with their electronic devices using simple gestures and not even have to reach for their devices."

Through the use of a camera-based sensor that detects infrared (IR) light incorporated with software that interprets the information generated to create "fully articulated hand skeleton" model.

An IR laser beam will deliver a thin line across the user’s hand to calculate the distance to their fingers and thumbs and determines the angle at which they are bent.

"Digits offers a compelling look at the possibilities of opening up the full expressiveness and dexterity of one of our body parts for mobile human-computer interaction," Kim said.

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