Browsing the Web with a wave of the hand
A group of MIT students hacks Microsoft's Kinect technology to let computer users control a browser with nothing more than gestures.
Imagine if you could pray to your computer to stop the beach ball of doom from spinning, the blue screen of death from staring you in the face.
Perhaps someday sooner than we think, such a simple, palm-to-palm gesture might actually serve to trigger a series of operations that would lead to an appropriate fix.
The Fluid Interfaces Group is devoted to moving user interface design beyond the keyboard-and-mouse approach, and this recent Kinect-based project--called DepthJS--does just that, allowing Internet users to navigate through open browser tabs by way of mystical, Obi-Wan-like waving gestures and Bruce Lee-like fist moves. Other gesturally controlled browser and screen operations include scrolling, clicking links, panning around a page, and zooming.
Viewing the group's DepthJS video demonstration, it's not hard to imagine myriad applications and various benefits. As several readers of blog posts about the project have noted, it could be a godsend for Google TV couch potatoes. And as one particularly insightful reader pointed out, it could perhaps help mitigate carpal tunnel syndrome (though it might simply replace that affliction with some other condition--browser's elbow?).
Developers can check out the DepthJS code on GitHub.