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Giving electronic commands with body language


PC makers soon will sell devices that allow people to move computer documents with simple hand gestures, reports the New York Times. The technology industry is going retro, moving away from remote controls, mice, and joysticks to something that arrives without batteries, wires, or a user manual—the human hand. One of the most significant changes to human-device interfaces since the mouse appeared next to computers in the early 1980s, the technology was on display in private sessions during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. Past attempts at similar technology have proved clunky and disappointing. In contrast, the latest crop of gesture-powered devices arrives with a refreshing surprise: they actually work. “Everything is finally moving in the right direction,” said Vincent John Vincent, the co-founder of GestureTek, a company that makes software for gesture devices. The gesture revolution will go mainstream later this year when Microsoft releases a new video game system known as Project Natal. The gaming system is Microsoft’s attempt to one-up Nintendo’s Wii. Where the Wii requires hypersensitive handheld controllers to translate body motions into on-screen action, Microsoft’s Natal will require nothing more than the human body…

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