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Kinect-Like Gesture System for iPad to Be Demoed at CES


Mobile Magazine reports that Norwegian company Elliptic Labs is set to offer demonstrations of its new "touchless gesture" user interface for the iPad at CES 2011 early next month. The interface, which utilizes ultrasound to generate a field approximately one foot in front of and either side of a docked iPad, would allow users to control their iPads by simply waving their hands in front of the screen.

We had a chance to catch up with CEO Stian Aldrin, who explained the following; "The idea is that you use touchless gestures to operate primary functions of a docked tablet in situations like when you have wet or greasy hands in the kitchen. In general tablets are made for being handheld. When it is docked you are often walking or standing further away, and then using a finger on the screen involves a change of modality. Rather than bending down, leaning forward or picking it up you can use larger movements a little bit further away to do things like volume up or next song without changing modality."

The project began life as a simple concept prototype for generic tablet devices, but has since evolved to become an iPad-specific docking station. A demo video from one of the early prototype designs shows how simple gestures could be used to swipe between screens on the tablet, and while the demo shows only limited swiping functionality and a fair amount of lag in the responding to gestures, the company has no doubt been working to expand and refine its technology to improve the user experience.

Apple has expressed its own interest in "Kinect-like" touchless gesture and voice control of such diverse devices as appliances and vehicles, recently acquiring the rights to a number of patents and patent applications related to the technology.