Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mobilize your personal static electricity for a hands-free 3D gestural interface

Posted by a totally wowed Bettina Tizzy

Students at Northeastern University in Boston have created an interactive interface that harnesses electrostatics to give you 3D control just by waving your hand in front of a computer. No camera, no markers, no physical controllers: it recognizes xyz coordinates, and even works with modeling and music programs. As you move your hand in three-dimensional space, the information is transmitted to the computer.

3D Computer Interface from Free Flow on Vimeo.

Peter Kirn of Create Digital Motion contacted a member of the student team, Justin Schunick, to learn more. Per Justin: "The interface uses an array of copper electrodes to sense a certain change in the electric field created by the device. The black material covering the electrodes shows how the interface can be hidden beneath surfaces to create a completely invisible interface. It is simple black felt you can buy at any fabric store. The total cost of this prototype was around $60.00 USD."

Speaking for myself, and considering my fitness level after nearly 2 1/2 years of participating in virtual worlds, I would welcome any technology that encourages whole body movement while working in 3D environments.

You can read the original story about this exciting development here.


CM Pauluh aka Nebulosus Severine said...


Manuj said...

Great! That's how we wanna 3d sketch building concepts. Waiting for such a ruby plugin for sketchup. Thanks.

Lauren said...

For $60 I'll take it

_ Peter said...

okay.... but the control of this tool looks like what would be the equivalent to painting watercolours wearing boxing gloves. it's cool that the thing can "read" position... but to be significantly useful, it seems it would need to be able to do so with a LOT more accuracy