In my 27 years in this business, I've been approached by many hardware vendors with their idea for how to replace the mouse, and nobody does -- except for the convenience of touch pads and touch screens on portable devices, technology nearly as old as the mouse.
And so today the latest attempt is coming out in a public beta. 3Gear Systems positions two Kinects over the top of your desk, and then runs software to detect the minute motions of your fingers. (Normally Kinect is only crude enough to detect the location and movement of whole body parts.) Here's what they say their system can do:
Users can grab objects and move them around in 3D with their hands. Our software requires each first-time user to go through a short (five-minute) calibration step. A user only ever has to do this once ever.
Since the system is touchless, it allows you to use computers without touching them, such as in surgery and other messy jobs. And that's where I can see this system being useful -- in fixed locations, because it won't work well in the field.
For more information, read up the things they've posted online:
- 3Gear Systems main site: http://www.threegear.com/beta
- Corporate blog: http://threegearsystems.blogspot.com