Gesture-Based Computing

2010 Final Topic and 2010 Short LIst: Time-to-Adoption: Four to Five Years
New topic in 2010.

Devices that can accept multiple simultaneous inputs (like using two fingers on the Apple iPhone or the Microsoft Surface to zoom in or out) and gesture-based inputs like those used on the Nintendo Wii have begun to change the way we interact with computers. We are seeing a gradual shift towards interfaces that adapt to—or are built for—humans and human gestures. The idea that natural, comfortable movements can be used to control computers is opening the way to a host of input devices that look and feel very different from the keyboard and mouse.

Gesture-based computing allows users to engage in virtual activities with motion and movement similar to what they would use in the real world. Content is manipulated intuitively, making it much easier to interact with, particularly for the very young or for those with poor motor control. The intuitive feel of gesture-based computing is leading to new kinds of teaching or training simulations, that look, feel, and operate almost exactly like their real-world counterparts. Larger multi-touch displays support collaborative work, allowing multiple users to interact with content simultaneously, unlike a single-user mouse.

Relevance for Teaching, Learning & Creative Expression

  • Researchers at Georgia Tech University have developed gesture-based games designed to help deaf children learn linguistics at the critical time of language development.
  • Using off-the-shelf existing technologies, the Sixth Sense project from MIT provides a gesture interface that can be used to augment information into real world spaces.
  • After discovering the significant improvement in dexterity that surgeons-in-training gained from playing with the Wii (48%), researchers are developing a set of Wii-based medical training materials.

Examples


For Further Reading

University offers new technology to help students study
http://www.unr.edu/nevadanews/templates/details.aspx?articleid=5194&zoneid=14
(Skyler Dillon, Nevada News, 1 October 2009.) The Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center at the University of Nevada in Reno purchased two Microsoft Surfaces. In addition to maps and games, the University added an anatomy study guide.

Why Desktop Touch Screens Don't Really Work Well For Humans
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/13/AR2009101300113.html
(Michael Arrington, The Washington Post, 12 October 2009.) A desktop touch screen isn't comfortable: a more ergonomic design (like an architect's drafting board) would relieve arm fatigue.