In a joint project with Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft reveals that the technology works in a similar way to Kinect, but is “modified to work at short range” to track finger movements.
In the demonstration shown below we see how the projector superimposes a keyboard image onto a hand and a notepad, and then users are able to tap and drag their fingers across the pad.
A rather awkward-looking contraption, showing Microsoft’s Kinect sensor perching on the shoulders of participants in the trial, shows how "you can tap on your hand or drag your interface out to specify the top left and bottom right border," explains researcher Hrvoje Benko.
"All this stems from the main idea that if everything around you is a potential interface, then the first action has to be defining an interface area."
“The surface area of one hand alone exceeds that of typical smart phones. Tables are an order of magnitude larger than a tablet computer. If we could appropriate these ad hoc surfaces in an on-demand way, we could deliver all of the benefits of mobility while expanding the user’s interactive capability,” enthuses Benko, suggesting that he could actually see people strapping these devices to themselves and embracing the technology.
We think it’s going to be a long time before we’ll see people walking around with cameras strapped to their shoulders texting people on their hands. This would ruin family dinner times, wouldn't it?
You can read more about the project on the official at the Microsoft Research website.