By Andrew Liszewski
Researchers at Osaka and Shinshu Universities in Japan have created a special sensor-equipped glove that lets users enter text on a computer, or eventually any kind of electronic device, by making gestures or shapes with their hands and fingers. The tip of each glove features a small magnet and as you change the shape of your hand it in turn changes the shape of the magnetic field around the glove. These changes are then measured using magnetic sensors, and the unique shapes of the field are converted into text based on a pre-determined data set.
Accuracy is currently pegged at around 90% if you make your own data set, which basically means if you teach it to read your own gestures, but that percentage only drops a little if you use a pre-existing one created by someone else. The Fingual glove also features an infrared sensor so that you need to hold your other hand near the glove, or place it near your body, to put it into gesture recognition mode. Otherwise every little hand action you’d make would be detected as text input. The obvious application for this technology would be to allow people who use sign language to also use it as a form of text entry, but the last time I checked they were still able to use keyboards and keypads. But as an alternative means of text entry when it’s rude or dangerous to use a keypad, I think it has potential.