In "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", legendary Starship Enterprise engineer Scotty is thwarted by a computer mouse. No wonder – by the 23rd century, the very idea of the computer mouse is likely to have been completely replaced by voice control and a technology that the KIT startup Kinemic is showcasing at CeBIT 2016.
The developers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are exhibiting in Hannover this year with a genuine world first – a gesture control technology for augmented reality (AR) applications. The Kinemic software allows users to write in the air without a keyboard in sight and control applications with gestures alone, meaning they can operate a range of different devices completely hands-free. Arm and hand movements are tracked by a sensory wristband or a smart watch, which is usually already equipped with the acceleration sensors and gyroscopes required. Kinemic then translates these movements into gestures or text.
Of course, gesture recognition is not an entirely new concept, but up till now it has generally been restricted to camera-based technology. By contrast, Kinemic gesture control is unaffected by environmental factors such as lighting and also supports significantly longer battery life. Perhaps even more importantly, Kinemic keeps corporate data and user privacy secure. What's more, because the system works independently of specific platforms or devices, users can continue to work with existing hardware and their own devices. Kinemic is particularly well suited to mixed reality applications, where information is superimposed onto a user’s field of vision, and can be used in areas such as production support, logistics and quality assurance - in fact, anywhere where neat gestures have to be followed by concrete action.