A new patent has emerged at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Filed by Microsoft, the patent describes ways to interact with a computer with air gesture controls. Losing the need for the user to touch a display.
In the patent, Microsoft envisions a system that uses cameras to capture hand gestures and turn it into movement in the computer. It appears to use a system similar to the TrueDepth camera, mapping the area in front of it using a series of lines and dots. An additional systems known as Time-of-Flight would also measure the amount of time it takes for light to bounce off objects and return; providing an additional level of depth perception.
The controls include, among others, drag and drop, mouse clicks and brush applications.
The patent also posits that multi-touch gestures, like the ones we do on our smartphones now, can be replicated using this system. Pinch-to-zoom, multi-finger scrolling and even tapping on buttons is possible. The system is also clever enough to track non-human objects like a stylus when presented to the tracker.
While this patent may not go beyond the drawing board, it is interesting to see that big companies are now targeting 3D space controls. We may see improvements in the near future as designs and system are firmed out for the mass market.