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Microsoft Digits: Control any device without touching

Posted: 10 Oct 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sensor  3D  infrared camera  IR laser line generator  IR diffuse illuminator 

Researchers at Newcastle University and Microsoft Research Cambridge have developed a sensor which tracks the 3D movement of the hand and allows the user to remotely control any device.

The sensor, which is worn on the wrist, allows users to control anything from mobile phone to the television with just a wave of the hand.

Mapping finger movement and orientation, the sensor gives you the remote control anytime, anywhere – even allowing you to answer your phone while it's still in your pocket and you're walking down the street.

"The 'Digits' sensor doesn't rely on any external infrastructure (hardware) so it is completely mobile," said David Kim, a PhD student at Newcastle University.

"This means users are not bound to a fixed space. They can interact while moving from room to room or even running down the street. What Digits does is finally take 3D interaction outside the living room."


Digits' main hardware components attached to a wrist brace. By instrumenting only the wrist, the user's entire hand is left to interact freely without wearing a data glove.

David added, "We needed a system that enabled natural 3D interactions with bare hands, but with as much flexibility and accuracy as data gloves."

The current prototype includes an infrared camera, IR laser line generator, IR diffuse illuminator, and an inertial-measurement unit (IMU) track.

"We wanted users to be able to interact spontaneously with their electronic devices using simple gestures without even having to reach for them. Can you imagine how much easier it would be if you could answer your mobile phone while it's still in your pocket or buried at the bottom of your bag?"

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