MIT students create wireless mouse gloves for class project

8 04 2010

Step aside, iPad. The wireless glove mouse might just be the next big trend in computer technology.

Pop culture first introduced us to this futuristic concept in the 2002 action thriller, Minority Report, in which Tom Cruise uses simple hand movements on an advanced computer interface to call up information, shift it and manipulate it.

Thanks to cutting-edge research from MIT, the idea is no longer limited to science fiction cinema. In 2008, MIT students Tony Hyun Kim and Nevada Sanchez tackled a digital electronics class project last year in which they developed mouse gloves. They created an interface where they could merely wave their gloved hands in their air in order to navigate, zoom and manipulate a map on the screen. Their project used basic equipment that cost them less than $100.

Kim and Sanchez took their glove mouse invention one step further in March, making the device wireless. The duo says the addition of wireless capabilities adds the convenience of moving around more freely.

Watch the video demonstration of the wireless glove mouse:

The technology works through an LED located on the back of the gloves’ index fingers. It can then be picked up by a low-resolution webcam, allowing it to function as a cursor on the screen. There are buttons located under the index and middle fingers that can be activated by the thumbs in order to select specific areas.

Still, don’t expect this technology to be available to mainstream audiences any time soon. The pair of MIT students has no current plans to commercialize their invention, which they say was “really just cool to actually build in real life.”

Another MIT product, by a team led by student Pranav Mistry, was demonstrated by well-known technology researcher Pattie Maes at a TED conference in February 2009. The Sixth Sense is a wearable device with a projector – made for just $350 with off-the-shelf products – that also paves the way for the type of interactions seen in “Minority Report.”

Click here to view the Sixth Sense demonstration.

To learn more about developing and future technologies involving the Web, register for the FutureWeb conference.  More details about the conference schedule and speakers can be found on the FutureWeb site.

By Ashley Dischinger

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