Okay, that headline might be a little misleading, even though it’s more or less accurate. Because at MIT’s Media Lab, Pranav Mistry has developed a system that uses a small laser and an infrared camera to track your hand movements as though your hand was a computer mouse, and your first two fingers were that mouse’s left and right buttons.
According to Gajitz the hardware cost about $20. Because that’s an end user’s price you can figure that a manufacturer would be able to install the system for even less – enough less, for example, to include the system on the left and right sides of a laptop so that both right handed and left handed users could mouse away, right out of the box.
And because the software interprets the movement of the user’s fingers any number of gestures could be supported. Your desktop could become a multitouch surface that you could use without leaving fingerprints all over your display (I’m looking at you, iPad).
Cartoon mice are a free bonus!
Once upon a time when Virtual Reality was a phrase you actually heard, I used to daydream about a 3D modeler that I could set up like a wood shop. Grab a box primitive, run it through the imaginary band saw, clean it up on the imaginary planer, drill it with the imaginary drill press, carve it with the imaginary chisel… this isn’t that, but it’s tantalizingly like it in the abstract.