Gesture-Based computing


There is a lot of buzz about the development of gesture-based computing – but what is it exactly and why all the fuss?  After all, we can already physically interact by pinching and swiping our tablet screens. Simply stated, gesture-based computing refers to the ability to interface with devices through natural human movement.(Wikispaces) However, gesture-computing is much more than tilting and shaking your device, it is intended to replace the mouse and keyboard as a means of communicating with your computer or tablet interface. This refers to a more intuitive way of interacting with computer devices and means that the technology can respond to various movements and motions of the body, which according to a number of reports will lead to a more intuitive interaction with your environment. This begs the next intriguing question: how will this technology interface with new and developing innovations such as ambient and immersive technologies?

At present the most common applications for gesture-based computing are in the fields of computer games and in file and media browsing. However, one of the most prominent real-world applications is in the area of simulation and training. A useful source of information is an extensive overview entitled Four to Five Years: Gesture-Based Computing, ( Here is an extract from the report that peaks my interest, to say the least.

new devices are appearing on the market that take advantage of motions that are easy and intuitive to make, allowing us an unprecedented level of control over the devices around us. Cameras and sensors pick up the movements of our bodies without the need of remotes or handheld tracking tools. The full realization of the potential of gesture-based computing is still several years away, especially for education; but we are moving ever closer to a time when our gestures will speak for us, even to our machines.

A number of companies such as Softkinetic ( are developing platforms for the support of gesture-based technology. They are also designing custom applications, such as interactive marketing and consumer electronics as well as games and entertainment. The real interest at present lies in what this technology could mean for learning and creative inquiry.  It is exciting to imagine a world in which gesture computing is the norm:

The very ease and intuitiveness of a gestural interface makes the experience seem very natural, and even fun. Already, medical students benefit from simulations that teach the use of specific tools through gesture-based interfaces, and it is easy to see how such interfaces could be applied in the visual arts and other fields where fine motor skills come into play. When combined with haptic (touch or motion-based) feedback, the overall effect is very compelling. (


Another informative article to read ion this regards is, Gesture-based tech: A future in education? from Zdnet. (

As noted above, one could link gesture-computing to the concept of ambient technology and augmented reality, a subject that that Imaginet will be exploring in future blog posting on Imagi-nation.

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