Connected Objects

Bixi relies on gestures, lets you nix standard remote control

editors-choice-300x96The main problem with controlling music and GPS navigation in one’s car through traditional remote control devices is that it can be a dangerous distraction.

Bixi is a smart home and mobile device that allows users to control connected objects via simple hand gestures. The small smart controller can be placed on top of any surface in the home or car, or mounted just about anywhere as well. Bixi connects via Bluetooth Low Energy to smartphones, tablets and computers. The device is based around next-generation time-of-flight optical sensors, and works well in complete darkness.


Aerion mouse lets your fingers stick together through air travel

Gesture control continues to find its way into a wide variety of consumer electronics devices including TVs and videogame consoles.

Aerion Mouse is a gesture-driven computer mouse that’s somewhat smaller than traditional mice. It gets placed between the top of any two of the user’s fingers. The user then points the mouse at the display to operate it and, instead of clicking on any buttons, just leans to the left to achieve what a typical left click on a mouse would and leans to the right for a right click.

One main benefits to Aerion is that it allows one to keep fingers close to a typing position without having to grab a separate device when moving between the keyboard and pointing device. It also works even when there’s no convenient focus on which to set a mouse.


Flow wireless controller streamlines your workflow with gesture, touch

In the physical world, our hands are the tools with which we feel and manipulate the world around us, having evolved over time to be regions of intense sensitivity and masterful precision. Our leap into the digital realm hasn’t been as smooth, though. While the keyboard and mouse combo has admirably pulled its weight over the years, the increasing complexity and changing functionality of the programs we use daily have plainly shown that another way of controlling is possible. With the Flow wireless controller, Senic shows that it’s thinking of a future where the digital can be as easily controlled as anything physical.

Flow is a stylish, aluminum puck-shaped device that offers gesture, touch, scroll, and haptic control all in a tiny package. With it, users will be able to access a larger ranger of precision not offered by traditional mouse inputs and the shortcuts that make work much easier. Programs like Spotify and Photoshop let users change what each input does, so what a pass of the hand will do in one will do something entirely different in the other, eliminating hunting after specific options in menus. It’s also freely programmable, so any program not currently supported can be addressed by the Flow community. Puzzlingly, Flow is Mac only for now, but the rest of the major platforms are in the works. The $99 Flow is expected to ship in July 2015. Flow is looking for $50,000 in funding.

New input technologies are always risky business as the companies pushing them are essentially asking people to incorporate foreign actions into their very established processes. Most of the time, though, these inputs are laughably difficult and don’t do much to make things easier. Flow seems to be very straightforward and easy to use. It works as a complement rather than a proposition to replace everything, and that’s a far lower bar to present to those who may be interested.

Augmented Reality Input

Nimble Sense brings virtual reality the input devices you were born with

Virtual reality technology is on the brink of reaching the average consumer after decades of failed vision and false promises. While head tracking and immersive headsets are great, the next level of immersion comes from a sense of touch rather than just using a keyboard and mouse.

The Nimble Sense is a hand-tracking camera created by Nimble VR, a company with years of experience working in the biggest tech companies and a history of focusing on hand-tracking technology. With this, their first proprietary camera, they are offering a gesture control and navigation system not just for gamers looking to lose themselves in a fantasy world, but also something that can have a wide variety of applications across a number of real-world situations.

Like the Kinect camera that Microsoft bundles with its Xbox consoles, the Nimble Sense creates a 3-D point cloud to track motion, depth, and gestures. With 110 degrees of vision and the ability to be mounted in any number of devices, the thin but powerful Nimble Sense is great for adding intuitive functionality to any piece of compatible technology. The 70 centimeter range also allows for any length of arms and less restrictive motion. Nimble VR needs $62,500 to complete design, testing, tooling, and production of the Sense. Supporters can reach out and grab one for only $99, with an expected release of June 2015.

By focusing exclusively on the hands, the Nimble Sense should offer a greater sense of accuracy and precision than many other motion cameras available, and will be a great companion for any Oculus Rift buyers. At this point, however, the technology is largely for novelty purposes, and it’s hard to think of existing practical applications for this product. Creators and VR enthusiasts will love it, others may want to let the technology continue to develop.