Microsoft Research demonstrates motion sensing keyboard

Ever since Nintendo’s Wii, gesture and motion control have, more or less, gotten a bad rap. Microsoft’s Kinect didn’t help the matter, as users soon realized that it requires much less effort to press a button on a controller than it does to wildly wave your arm in the air. Microsoft Research has seemingly learned from its past, and has developed a device that aims to make gesture control require much less effort.

Microsoft Research has demoed a new augmented mechanical keyboard that allows users to use motion controls either on or slightly above the keyboard to interact with their computers. The prototype was curiously made using keycaps from an Apple keyboard. “A low-resolution matrix of infrared (IR) proximity sensors is interspersed with the keys of a regular mechanical keyboard. This results in coarse but high frame-rate motion data. We extend a machine learning algorithm, traditionally used for static classification only, to robustly support dynamic, temporal gestures.” The gestures that the keyboard can recognize include traditional gestures like “pinch-to-zoom” and swiping to static gestures like holding a single finger above the keyboard to advanced gestures like turning an imaginary steering wheel. 

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