If you've kept an eye on the gestures scene, you'll be familiar with the concept of controlling various apps and services with hand gestures. The idea is to help you escape the use of traditional peripheral devices like a mouse or joystick in place of your body and hands. Lately we've seen examples from Microsoft, as well as a slick peripheral from 3dconnexion that's specifically been designed for navigating 3D spaces. Xtreme Reality is a software that captures body gestures via Webcam and converts them into keyboard and mouse inputs. You can create your own keyboard combos based on gesture combinations, and assign them to any open application (for games, photo browsing, etc.)
At a live preview of the technology at today's TechCrunch40 conference, the company showed off live demos of Google Earth, navigating a PowerPoint demo, and a live boxing round, all with simple hand gestures. The company intends on licensing the gesture technology for use in video games and third-party gesture software. It's still unavailable in consumer applications, with no announcements on a release date or pricing.
I'm still pretty happy with the keyboard and mouse combo for nearly every software and Webware app I use; although, as we've discovered with the Wii, and even the iPhone and it's multitouch display, sometimes an actual gesture makes something feel more natural and intuitive. How that transitions over to something like a spreadsheet or a word processor is anyone's guess. For games and zooming around maps, I can't wait.
I've embedded a short video example of the boxing demo below.