Gesture-based computing? It's as 'Izi' as waving your hand

11:53 PM, Mar 8, 2011   |    comments
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  • Izi software being used to control PowerPoint.
  • Izi software being used to play a PC game.
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European software maker Extreme Reality (XTR3D) wants to make controlling your computer programs, games and mobile devices as easy as waving your hand.  At least, that's what their Izi (pronounced "easy") software is for.

One nice thing off the bat with this technology is that for most computer users it won't require any extra pieces of hardware.  Rather than requiring peripherals like Sony's Move and Microsoft's Kinect, Izi uses the front-facing camera that's found on most modern laptop computers or, for desktop users, the webcam that's probably been shoved into a desk drawer for the longest time.  Like laptop users, mobile device (smarphone and tablet) users will need the front facing camera as well.

On the user side of things, Izi works off of a widget where users can assign computer events to for different pieces of software such as PowerPoint, Adobe Reader and games.

"Basically the idea is to provide laptop providors with an API to enable their machines to do gesture control," says Dor Givon, CEO of XTR3D.

During a demonstration of the Izi software during the 2011 Game Developer Conference, Givon showed how the software can be used to manipulate a music player by waving his hand to change tracks and also forming a fist to control the volume by rotating it.

In gaming applications, actual gesture control of games like World of Warcraft is supported through the widget.  Games can also be controlled in a more Kinect-ish way with the PC's webcam tracking your full body's movements.

Using the Izi software on a mobile platform is very similar to using it on a computer.  Givon demonstrated using a Texas Instrument development kit to browse photos by waving his hand from side to side to change images.  Izi can also be used for more practical usages as well.

"There is a need in the car, for example, where it's very dangerous to answer the phone if you need to look at the phone -- or even to navigate your GPS," Givon explains.  "So, basically you can put your palm out in front of you and you can answer the phone, you can change volume, you can change all the music in your car just by gestures.  You don't have to look at your phone."

Safer driving, touch-free computing and gesture-controlled gaming -- all done by the wave of your hand.  It can be just that "Izi".

- Game Guy Barry White


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