Man, gestural interfaces are really starting to gain ground, aren’t they? Apparently, touch was never enough.
Toshiba’s been working on something pretty cool. Yeah, that’s it, just cool. No customary ‘rad!’ or ‘awesome!’ from me. S’just cool. I’ll explain momentarily. The AirSwing is an interface that uses a webcam to superimpose the image of the user onto the screen, that they might wave their hands all over some content and make magic happen. I was under the impression they were just using a really, really crappy high-gloss monitor in the video for a full three minutes.
Now, this is sort of puzzling. Where have we seen this before? Oh, right – this is basically Sony’s EyeToy, repackaged. Y’know, more or less. The bizarre thing about this technology is that it doesn’t look like it’s come much farther than Sony had it years ago, either – users are still fumbling through the air, awkwardly gesturing without the confidence you’d expect from an intuitive interface.
I guess what’s got me interested in AirSwing, though, is not the technology – which has absolutely been done before – but the application. The intended market? Advertisers, to help make our ad-saturated existences more tolerable by giving us something to do while we wait for the subway and stuff. Have you ever played with those touch screen billboards that are showing up in malls everywhere? Interactive ads! Now there’s something I can verify as ‘rad’. Yeah, I’ll look like an idiot awkwardly waving my hands around in the middle of the subway station, but Toshiba will have a much easier time marketing this technology for the ad sector than Sony ever did for entertainment, that’s for damn sure.
Scat Separate Ways by Journey and load up this video for a peek at this bizness in action.