Microsoft Research makes cooler version of Power Glove

Remember the Power Glove from Nintendo? The gaming controller was really futuristic looking back in the late 1980s. The concept of a wearable controller hasn't gotten much traction since then. Now, Microsoft Research has come up with a new concept that reminds us of the Power Glove, but without the actual glove.

The Next at Microsoft blog reveals the project, called Digits. Basically, its a device that a person wears on his or her wrist that can sense the movement of a person's fingers. The video that shows off Digits says that the device was made from off-the-shelve items, including a infrared camera, an IR laser, an R diffuser for illumination and an inertial measurement unit.

The end result is that Digits can sense the movement of the fingers on a person's wrist. There are obvious gaming applications for this device, such as being able to use your finger to shoot at targets in a first person shooter game. However, the video shows some other uses for Digits, including being able to zoom and and out of a touch screen-based mobile app.

The video even shows how Digits could control the volume level of a smartphone while that device is still in a pocket just by the movement of a person's fingers, combined with some form of "wearable vision technology" (i. e. glasses similar to Google Glass). As usual with anything from Microsoft Research, there's no way to know if this project will ever lead to a real commercial product launch.

Source: Next at Microsoft

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I think there are a lot of genuine concerns about wearable computing. I've been skeptical of devices being "woven into clothing" because of the washability issue (though I realize this is no doubt part of the design process), as well as the issue of trends (people like the ability to buy clothes freely, buy vintage clothes, make their own clothes, etc).

But I've long thought that intelligent *accessories* could actually gain traction. Simple wristbands don't have any of the above issues, for example, and as tech gets more compact, the 'LiveStrong' (for example) bracelet of the future could have any number of technologies built into it, allowing for a UX so comfortable you don't even realize it's there.

If a bracelet can intelligently read the wearer's body language at a high resolution, while also including various wireless technologies, and with--perhaps--advances in motion-based battery charging, well... interesting things could happen. This tech could become part of watches, wristbands, arm bands, whatever.

S3P€hR said,
Its actually very cool/

Much better than Kinect that's for sure.

This would be awesome on Amnesia.

Crisps said,

Much better than Kinect that's for sure.

This would be awesome on Amnesia.

Different application than Kinect, and most likely would be an 'augmented' device to work with Kinect, as it could provide continuous input even when hands are out of line of sight to the Kinect device.