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April 5th, 2011

The miniaturized sensors and controls that let you interact with your digital devices in new ways are known as Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS). The first consumer products with it were games like the Nintendo Wii. It is MEMS technology, too, that tells iPad rentals to switch screen orientation (to/from portrait or landscape) when you rotate them.

Alternative input is a subject we’ve covered before (and will stay on top of for you). Whether it’s in a product like Apple’s Magic Trackpad or Xbox Kinect-style motion sensing, these methods are being grouped under the name “gesture control.”

Physical gestures to control a PC

Trackpads on PC laptops have lagged behind those on MacBooks and MacBook Pro rentals, but the gap is beginning to close. Synaptics TouchPadIn 2010, Synaptics debuted a button-free, clickable trackpad, and has since upgraded the TouchPad-IS product with four-finger gestures and more.

As these new capabilities reach manufacturers, and then your office, you will discover a more intuitive and productive way of controlling your PC. You can discover it right now, of course, by getting the Magic Trackpad with one of CRE’s iMac rentals.  The Magic Trackpad is a wireless Bluetooth device that recognizes the multi-touch and multi-finger gestures, swipes and “zoom pinches.”

Virtual controls to track finger movement

Camera-based input and control techniques are being developed by a growing number of firms. GestureTek Inc. has applications on the market that promise new efficiencies for challenging digital workflows. The company’s AirPoint controls computers by tracking the movement of your fingers in 3D space, so controlling multimedia presentations, for example, requires nothing more than simple hand motions. As an online product demo shows,  AirPoint is quite accurate at short distances.

The firm’s patented 3D vision-tracking technology, GestPoint Maestro 3D, tracks both body movement and hand gestures in 3D space, allowing device control from up to 10 feet away. The technology can be scaled to work on smart phones, specialized tools like CRE’s tablet PC rentals, desktop computers and other devices. Expect “killer apps” in such areas as vehicle and appliance controls, home environmental systems and robotics – and, of course, computers.

Eye movement tracking in the future

A Swedish company, Tobii Technologies, has a dramatic new kind of interface/input system. Using an array of infrared sensors, the system tracks the user’s eye movement with such speed and precision that product testers called the mouse “an antique.”

Before long, CRE’s clientele will enjoy improved control over the many digital duties they discharge on Mac Pro rentals and other high-end tools. Alternative input methods are among the many exciting changes on the horizon, and a simple call or e-mail to our experienced Account Executives can get you up to speed As always, use the Quick Rental Quote form if you know what you need.

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