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MIT Uses Invisible Rays to Transform Your Hand Into a Mouse

Filed under Found on the Web

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.

3 responses to “MIT Uses Invisible Rays to Transform Your Hand Into a Mouse
rainycity1 says:
July 5th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

hmmm… now I’m wondering what will become of the term ‘mouse’… I can see us in 10 years explaining that we call what we’re doing with our hand ‘mousing’ because a long time ago there was a device that attached to a big box on a desk…. Sort of like trying to explain the phrase ‘quarter till’ to students who have grown up with a digital clock..

Bradley W. Schenck says:
July 5th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

There’s no telling whether this will go anyplace, of course – but I did find myself wondering whether it would be harder to learn “mousing” without an object to mouse with. Like training wheels.

But chances are it would just make some kind of visual sense without a “real” mouse.

I remember once trying to explain to a younger co-worker that when I look at a digital clock, I have to translate it to analog in my head because my brain thinks of clocks as pie graphs. Made no sense to him at all, of course :).

rainycity1 says:
July 5th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

So many ‘computers’ are mouse-less now any way. I ‘mouse’ using the touchpad on my laptop for example. I actually think that touch pads and screens are the direction that things are going, but we’ll see. Voice recognition is a logical next step. It will be interesting to see in ten years how kids react to the scene with Scotty and the Macintosh in Star Trek IV and whether they think it is funny or not. 😉

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