High-Tech Navigation in the Palm of Your Hand

By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Surfing the web may soon be as simple as waving your hand in front of your screen.

A British design agency called Clusta has just unveiled a new webcam-controlled site that lets you navigate with hand gestures.  The site uses a webcam to “see” your movements and translate them into points and clicks.

“Enabling the site to be navigable by webcam created fantastic challenges for us. It was essential that the webcam version worked as well as the mouse version and we have managed to harness the technology in such a way that it is now possible to incorporate it into a commercial Web site,” the company’s creative director, Matthew Clugston, told design mag Digital Arts.

The design itself is pretty impressive too, with a moving ink effect taking up most of the home page space.  Engineers actually used a glass tank with water and red dye to create the effect, videotaping from multiple angles to get just the right look.

Clusta predicts their technology could eventually make the mouse and keyboard a thing of the past.  Their next steps will include the ability to detect the speed and movement of your gestures.  That would enable you to “grab” something on the screen and drag-and-drop it to another location, and eventually even “walk around” virtual stores and almost literally pick up the products you want.

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One Response to High-Tech Navigation in the Palm of Your Hand

  1. I also saw this on Geekbrief.tv, and took a look at the clusta site and HRP demo. I think this is a pretty terrible idea. Web 2.0 Wow Factor run amok. The moving ink effect meant that every page transition took far, far longer than it needed to; it was pretty, but the prettiness got in the way of the functionality. Or would have, were any functionality to appear on the clusta site.

    The webcam demo itself was impossible to find from the main clusta site, and I quickly got sick of clicking around for it given how long each click took, and came back here to look up the separate url for the demo. The The actual gesture recognition wasn't terrible; certainly as a demo it presents a lot of promise for future ideas, but mainly in terms of standing in front of a large display (after all, the webcam still needs to be able to see the user). Sitting at my desk, I quickly switched back to my mouse, where the gestures needed to navigate, namely pointing and clicking, were much more precise and efficient.

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