Entertainment at the wave of a hand - the Gesture Cube
By Paul Ridden
February 14, 2010
The Gesture Cube concept is the first example to demonstrate the possibilities offered by a new touch-free sensing technology developed by Ident Technology AG. The design proposes using the company's GestIC 3D spatial hand movement tracking innovation to allow users to browse photos, play music, read messages, check the weather and so on - all with the wave of a hand or the flick of a wrist.
When faced with the challenge of effectively demonstrating a new gesture-based technology, Lunar Europe opted to create a concept device for use in the home. The Gesture Cube all-in-one entertainment hub would see users access and play music files, browse images, check the local weather or interact with others via instant messaging - all by using intuitive hand movements off-device.
Touchscreens without the touch
Touchscreens (as seen on Microsoft's Surface, mobile phones like the iPhone and portable computers like eviGroup's Pad) are everywhere and spatial, gesture-based device control, as used by Nintendo's Wii, is now commonplace. The Gesture Cube proposes taking these innovations to the next level, ditching cumbersome controllers altogether and leaving actual physical screen contact behind.
The cube design would cater for the user interface (designed by Zinosign) to be viewed and accessed on all sides and the GestIC 3D spatial hand movement tracking from Ident Technology AG would detect and track intuitive gesturing such as pinching for zoom, pushing upwards for deletion or dismissal and pushing down for activation or choice confirmation and then translate them into function commands.
Using human conductivity
According to Ident Technology AG, GestIC uses the conductive nature of the human body to influence minor electric fields surrounding a device. Four sensors within a device track the coordinates of the object disrupting the electric field, determining differences between single digits and full hands, and transmits the information to the electronics for appropriate, pre-programmed action: "GestIC electric field sensing technology makes 3D spatial hand or finger movement tracking possible. GestIC enables touch-free three-dimensional gesture control on 2D screens from mobile phones, tablet PCs, picture frames and MP3 players all the way to 3D devices like Gesture Cube."
The company's Oliver Dietrich told Gizmag that GestIC is currently being aimed towards the consumer electronics market and that Ident Technology AG is: "licensing our technology to semiconductors and OEM. One large international semiconductor is currently integrating our technology in a chip, which should be available at the end of the year. First products can be expected in 2011."
As you can see from the promotional video below, the user interface freezes when the device is picked up and moved. Were such a device to ever make it into production, presumably it would include some form of error control system to avoid accidental activation and wireless connectivity to the home WiFi network. Development updates will be posted on the concept website.