Microsoft is trying hard to innovate as its competitor Google is doing projects like sending hot air balloons around the world to provide internet and trying to design self driving cars. Microsoft’s contribution this week was the prototype of a gesture keyboard. You remember Apple’s gesture and swipe based touch-pad for its Macs? Imagine a full fledged keyboard equipped for a whole computer.
The project, called “Type-Hover-Swipe in 96 Bytes” was presented at this week’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Toronto. The keyboard works with infrared technology. An array of infrared sensors are hidden in between the keys and tracks the gestures of your hands meticulously. In this way all the gestures needed to scroll, slide, switch and any other function you can think of are accounted for.
A system suggests that swiping up and down as you would on a touch screen has the same effect when you swipe on the keyboard and lifting your hand just above it will switch between programmes.
The sensors are arranged in a 16 X 4 matrix constituting just 64 pixels. The frequency at which they operate however, 300 hertz, seems to compensate for the low resolution as it detects rapid movement. The sensors are also fed with a learning algorithm that observes patterns and adapts itself to identify specific gestures.
The technology is not in any way scheduled to come out soon or slated to be part of Microsoft’s line up, they just wanted to experiment by the looks of it but its a project they mean to invest in so we might see some reflection of this products capability in future Microsoft products.