May 25, 2015 weblog
Finger gestures will tell your smartwatch what to do
Gesture control for smartwatches is the key mission for a startup called Deus Ex Technology. They have devised a module which can fit into a smartwatch band and behave as a gesture controller for your timepiece. Let your fingers do the talking to tell the watch what you want to view.
A promotional video for the Aria module shows a person sipping his fashionable drink and he wears a stylish black smartwatch on his wrist. Thing is, he seems to be having muscle spasms on that hand...or is he practicing notes on an air instrument? The video reveals there is no problem at all; he is exercising gesture control over his watch.
In an interview with Kyle Russell of TechCrunch, Deus Ex Technology's Alfredo Belfiore was asked, but why bother using hand gestures when one can just flick or tap the smartwatch? What is the convenience? The Aria response was that a hands-free method was convenient—after all, only one hand is actually free when you wear a smartwatch. Everyday tasks such as holding on to a small child's hand, brushing your teeth, drinking coffee might make it more convenient to use finger-gesture control with the same hand wearing the watch, as you direct the watch by moving your fingers in the air.
Russell said that the Aria band add-on is compatible with Android Wear and the Pebble Time.
In short, they are preparing to offer a hands-free remote that can recognize finger movements. You wear it; you calibrate it. A configuration app enables you to decide which gesture will do what. The team is aiming at optimal user experience, avoiding a gesture range that may be too complex for easy adoption. They are using five gestures in the mix—up, down, left, right, enter. They said the silicone material is the only part in contact with the skin.
The Aria team includes Alfredo Belfiore, Allesandro Allievi and Matteo De Cicco. TechCrunch reported that in the next few weeks, the Aria team will turn to crowdfunding and will present two versions of the band on Kickstarter. A unit for $69 will be purpose-built for Pebble Time. Russell said it will cut out the need for an independent battery or constant Bluetooth communication when in use.
The other option will be aimed at developers, coming in at a more premium $169 price. This will be a standalone unit, he said, with its own battery, to slot onto a watch band. The SDK "will let owners use the module with most Android Wear watches as well as integrate gesture controls into apps," said Russell.
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