Who hasn’t gestured at a computer? Now Microsoft is trying to take that natural tendency to tell the office computer what to do through impromptu hand signals and turn it into productive moves, sans the mouse.
At a recent Research Open Day in Washington, D.C., demonstrations of a gesture-run Windows program, deemed GWindows for Gesture Windows, showed how a simple pair of hands and some well intentioned movement could potentially take the place of the mouse.
According to a Government Computer News (GCN) article, the demonstrated technology used web cameras to measure the depth of an on-screen object and made the object follow physical movements, or commands, from the nearest moving objects. A Microsoft representative at the demonstration reported that the technology works with PowerPoint and Internet Explorer and can also be coupled with voice technology.
While Microsoft is still working on GWindows, with no commercial release date yet announced, technology that either replaces or limits a dependence on the mouse has the ergonomic benefit of making computers work for workers with limited use of their arms or hands.
Currently available mousing alternatives include voice or speech recognition technology and the predecessor to the mouse – keyboard shortcuts. While the seemingly-archaic keyboard shortcuts still require some manual input for the computer and are limited to situations where a keyboard setup is practical, there is a practical side to them as well. Keyboard shortcuts rarely pick up accidental gestures or background noise, both of which can affect accuracy, increase the time needed for proofreading and editing, and potentially lead to embarrassing situations.