Some of the world’s most innovative ideas had their origins within a sci-fi story, from automatic motion-sensing doors and 3D printers to wearable digital displays and instant messaging.
Student Sidhant Srikumar is well aware of this. He once read about a character “typing on a computer only he could see” in the 2005 sci-fi novel Accelerando by British author Charles Stross. “Sid thought it was a cool idea,” says Mike Pfister. And so the Gest was born.
Pfister, Srikumar and Ben Board are the co-developers of Gest, a motion-controlled wearable that enables users to interact with a computer or mobile device without touching it.
Like a sleeker, more usable Nintendo Power Glove, Gest’s sensors works out where your fingers are as they flail around in midair before sending instructions to your preferred Bluetooth device, whether that’s typing on your laptop or piloting a drone.
“It’s much more intuitive to perform certain tasks than, say, with a traditional keyboard or mouse,” Pfister exclaims. “Rotating a 3D object is as simple as grabbing and twisting your palm.
Flying a drone is as familiar as tilting your hand left and right like it’s an aeroplane. If you can touch type, you can even use Gest like a full-sized keyboard, without having to lug the [whole] keyboard around.”
The beauty of the system is that it can be programmed with custom gestures, letting it perform a limitless number of functions. Sure it won’t replace a keyboard and a mouse for most users, but there is a real potential for Gest to become a new standard for interaction.
We love how you can switch between apps with a twitch of a finger and Pfister believes it’s the first step towards enabling humans to use their hands in a more intuitive way. It also helps us to look like Tom Cruise in the 2002 film Minority Report. And that’s gotta be a good thing, right?