Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

PDA Hand Signals

PostedNovember 16, 2014

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lead: You’ve seen games – like Microsoft’s Kinect – controlled using hand gestures. A similar idea might soon allow you to type on very small personal devices.

Randy Atkins: A technology called Chirp bounces sound waves off or your moving hand much like a flying bat uses sonar says Richard Przybyla, a co-founder of Chirp Microsystems.

Richard Przybyla: We send this ping out into the environment and we measure how long it takes for the sound to go out and then come back. That delay tells us how far things are from the sensor.

Randy Atkins: Przybyla says Chirp can track intricate hand movements but requires much less energy and can be made smaller than similar systems using cameras. So it can work in devices, like a watch, that would be very hard to type on.

Richard Przybyla: You’re now interacting with the device by using gestures where you don’t actually have to touch the device itself.

Randy Atkins: Using the three dimensions in open air will also allow a broader range of commands. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.