Forget about greasy fingerprints smudging the screen of Microsoft's touch-based Windows 8 devices. Elliptic Labs announced the Nov. 13 launch of touchless gesturing that uses ultrasonic technology to let users scroll, select application commands and perform other functions in the operating system by moving their hands in front of the display. While it may seem like something out of a science-fiction movie, the technology has already been incorporated in the Windows 8 Gesture Suite.
The Windows 8 Gesture Suite enables a touchless version of all touch-screen gestures in the new operating system. Combined with Elliptic's software development kit (SDK), the technology could give original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) the ability to create new ways to interact with devices. Elliptic, a provider of ultrasonic touchless gesturing for consumer electronic devices, uses sound waves and microphones to detect movement, similar to how radar detects objects. The technology is not limited to detecting movement within camera view; it detects natural hand movements that extend beyond the camera, surrounding a device screen.
"Microsoft's new Metro interface changes how consumers interact with the operating system, and the design is a perfect fit for touchless gestures," Tobias Dahl, Elliptic Labs founder and chief technology officer, said in a statement. "Elliptic's Windows 8 Gesture Suite gives users a touchless version of the gestures they already know from a touch-screen."
The platform comes with an SDK that incorporates natural gestures into devices and delivers an extensive range of example applications. With the SDK, customers and partners can create new ways to interact with devices and applications beyond Windows 8. The set of controls allows users to employ hand gestures for scrolling, selecting, rotating objects and controlling menus, and the kit also allows you to create your own gestures using the trajectory control.
Elliptic also provides a starter kit for 13-inch form factor notebooks, designed as an out-of-the box solution to help customers and partners to get started with ultrasound-based gestures without designing hardware. The company claims ultrasonic touchless technology uses up to 95 percent less power than current camera image-based gestural systems.
"The future of technology lies in moving from touch-screen to gesture recognition, but to date, using cameras has proved limiting and unnatural to users," Dahl continued. "Ultrasonic gesture technology uses sensors to deliver its capabilities and extends gesture-space to all sides of the screen, ensuring that the technology is robust and—unlike cameras—can be used in dark and bright light. Our Elliptic Windows 8 gestures give users full control of the new interface by simple intuitive gestures in 3D space, enabling a more natural and efficient way to work."