'Minority Report' Technology Comes a Step Closer to Reality

By Rory J. Thompson April 30, 2014

In the 2002 sci-fi film “Minority Report,” Tom Cruise plays a futuristic police chief who manipulates multiple virtual computer screens by waving his hands in front of them. He looks like a maestro conducting an orchestra, and the resulting visual is pretty stunning.

Fast-forward now to 12 years later, and Cruise’s fiction appears to be becoming reality…of a sort.

According to a report in PCWorld, “Microsoft’s research division has developed a keyboard that can interpret basic hand gestures, potentially bridging a gap between touch devices and more traditional input methods.” How this will play out for the general public remains to be seen, but the possibilities and opportunities for an expansion of this technology seem endless.

“Presented at the Computer Human Interaction (CHI) conference in Toronto, the prototype keyboard has 64 sensors that detect the movement of hands as they brush over the top of the keyboard,” PCWorld says. “Swiping a hand over the left or right side, for instance, can bring up left and right side menus in Windows 8. The main goal is for users to be able to keep their hands on or very close to the keyboard while typing and using input gestures,” Stuart Taylor, a Microsoft senior research engineer, told the publication.


Tom Cruise in "Minority Report." Image via The Telegraph

While using fingers or hands to scroll though pictures or menus on a smart device is commonplace, keyboards are another issue.

The Microsoft team has been working on the project for about 18 months and will continue to refine the gesture interpretation, PCWorld says. “The sensors on the keyboard are in pairs, with one sensor emitting infrared light and the other reading the light reflected back. It’s not unlike the technology in Microsoft’s Kinect gaming system.”

As the unit is still in the beta stage, there are no public, long-term plans for commercialization, Microsoft has said.  But with touchless keyboards at hand (so to speak), can other touchless apps be far behind?




Edited by Alisen Downey
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Bloomberg BETA: Models Are Key to Machine Intelligence

By: Paula Bernier    4/19/2018

James Cham, partner at seed fund Bloomberg BETA, was at Cisco Collaboration Summit today talking about the importance of models to the future of machi…

Read More

Get Smart About Influencer Attribution in a Blockchain World

By: Maurice Nagle    4/16/2018

The retail value chain is in for a blockchain-enabled overhaul, with smarter relationships, delivering enhanced transparency across an environment of …

Read More

Facebook Flip-Flopping on GDPR

By: Maurice Nagle    4/12/2018

With GDPR on the horizon, Zuckerberg in Congress testifying and Facebook users questioning loyalty, change is coming. What that change will look like,…

Read More

The Next Phase of Flash Storage and the Mid-Sized Business

By: Joanna Fanuko    4/11/2018

Organizations amass profuse amounts of data these days, ranging from website traffic metrics to online customer surveys. Collectively, AI, IoT and eve…

Read More

Satellite Imaging - Petabytes of Developer, Business Opportunities

By: Doug Mohney    4/11/2018

Hollywood has programmed society into believing satellite imaging as a magic, all-seeing tool, but the real trick is in analysis. Numerous firms are f…

Read More