Hello, Gest! Goodbye, keyboards and mice!
In anticipation for the next wave of smart devices that will infiltrate our everyday lives, more and more companies have set out to find new ways to interact with these gadgets. With hopes of moving beyond things like the mouse, keyboard and touchscreen, one Austin-based startup has devised a wearable that lets you control your computer or smartphone by simply moving your hands. Introducing Gest.
The brainchild of Apotact Labs, Gest allows you to work with your hands in a more intuitive way, whether that’s switching between apps by twitching your finger, pointing at the screen to move the mouse or twisting your palm to adjust sliders in Photoshop. The whole premise is that you’ll never have to think about what you’re doing, you’ll just be able to do it.
The lightweight device features a palm strap with a bulk of the gadget resting on the back of your hand, while four finger connectors (which look like half rings) are attached to the main unit via short wires. 15 discreetly embedded sensors boast a latency of roughly 40-60 ms for greater accuracy and more recognized gestures, despite your hand’s orientation. So no matter if you’re drawing, typing, modeling, presenting or composing, Gest can learn the meaning of those motions and help you get things done fast in a more natural way. What’s more, you can customize your own gesture commands for additional.
“While Gest may be one-size-fits-all on the outside, on the inside it’s all about you. Everyone moves their hands in unique ways; the way you point at the screen is probably different than your friend,” its creators explain.
Thanks to the combination of accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers, Gest can determine your finger positions and offer unparalleled touchless control that would otherwise require a mouse or keyboard. Meanwhile, thumb movements are inferred using data from the other sensors. The wearable is equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy, LED status indicators and a rechargeable battery capable of lasting through a full day of work.
Impressively, Gest can function just like a keyboard, only that you can type in the air or on any surface without all of that clickety-clack. And that’s not all. The Apotact Labs crew has opened up an SDK with the hope of enabling developers to create new applications, integrations and use cases for the gesture control system, from manipulating virtual reality objects onscreen to adjusting layers and changing brush sizes in Photoshop. The company will also offer developers access to custom skeletal models and motion-processed data, as well as raw sensor data that’ll bestow the freedom to innovate using its Java and Python APIs.
“The last time we saw a truly drastic change in the way people interact with technology was when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2007. We believe we’re on the cusp of another transformative change,” explains Mike Pfister, CEO and co-founder of Apotact Labs. “We built Gest on a foundation of technology that will enable it to become the de facto standard for gesture interaction.”
Intrigued? Head over to Gest’s Kickstarter campaign, where Apotact Labs is currently seeking $100,000. Delivery is slated for November 2016.