A Digits wearer will be able to answer their phone without needing to take it out of their pocket

Video: Microsoft ‘Digits’ can control gadgets without touching

Microsoft’s new motion control bracelet takes gesture input from a human hand and renders it in real-time 3D.

The Digits prototype is part of Microsoft’s effort to create a device that would allow the wearer to control their smartphone and other gadgets using hand gestures.

Developers working with the device will have a new frontier of interface options available to them like gesture-based controls in games, sign-based typing, and even turning the pages on an e-reader as if they were three dimensional objects.

Mapping finger movement and orientation means the device wearer can remotely control their device from anywhere.

“The Digits sensor doesn’t rely on external infrastructure, which means users are not bound to a fixed space," said David Kim, a Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellow from Newcastle University’s Culture Lab. "They can interact while moving from room to room or running down the street. This finally takes 3D interaction outside the living room.

“We wanted users to be able to interact spontaneously with their electronic devices using simple gestures without even having to reach for them,” continued Kim.

“Can you imagine how much easier it would be if you could answer your mobile phone while it’s still in your pocket or buried at the bottom of your bag?”

The great thing about this prototype is that it leaves the hand free, unlike other data gloves out there. However, Digits does have downsides: some gestures, like crossed fingers, cannot currently be tracked, and abandoning gloves means the loss of tactile feedback.

Check out this video demonstrating what Microsoft’s Digits can do:

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