3DV Systems has developed a video camera capable of sensing depth in a viewed scene and isolating a user’s gestures in real time. What does this mean for interfaces you ask? Well, if you think about it, an interface that can interpret fine gestural movements is a big step away from keyboard or moused input. Imagine a Wii interface without hand-held sensors, where you just use bare hands to influence events on a monitor screen. I can see many developments in training/sport/VR for this technology. Music training applications could include “Air guitars” capable of producing real sounds or “air keyboards” for playing Bach on a virtual harpsichord. Here’s a video of a boxing application where the user spars with a virtual opponent using his bare hands.
The company spent several years developing a dedicated chipset, DeepCTM , that powers the depth-sensing video camera. Tomer Barel, the company’s Vice-President of Marketing and Product Management, says that the cost of the ZCamTM video camera will be comparable to other peripheral devices such as joysticks currently on the market. See a video of an interview with him here.
This technology has the potential to produce a major change in how people interact with computer technology. Naturally, early applications will focus on game systems and other commercial money-spinners, but this doesn’t mean we can’t apply it to learning situations. It just means a bit of blue-sky thinking in this area if you ask me…
Please add a comment on how you would like to see this technology applied to learning.