Construction technology is a pretty thrilling topic for our team, but we really go nuts when we see technologies being used in the field that seem to come straight out of science fiction fantasies we never imagined were possible. Gesture control technology definitely falls into the we-can’t-believe-this-is-reality category. It’s up there with smart materials that heal themselves.
Gesture control technology is exactly what it sounds like: it can interpret a person’s gestures and take directions without the user having to touch a mouse, keyboard or screen. A human is therefore able to control a piece of equipment or a machine without directly touching it. This can be done through a variety of ways, including wire gloves that provide input to a computer system, special cameras that detect and transfer motion, and controller-based systems that transmit actual gestures to the machine that will replicate them.
You’ll see gesture control technology covered in this blog again (more than once), but for today we’re talking about two companies that are true game changers in this field, with devices already entering the marketplace. These companies will ensure that you’ll soon be doing heavy lifting on the jobsite with the swipe of your arm, or directing a crane with the wave of your hand.
Leap Motion is one of the most well known gesture control technology companies, with its Leap Motion Controller already seeing widespread use in the marketplace. The Leap Motion Controller senses hand movements, allowing users to interact with their computers without touching them. You don’t have to use a keyboard, mouse or touch-screen to change pages, flip through photos or to sculpt and build 3D models – you can do it all with a flick of your finger or a wave of your hand. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Leap Motion is currently researching more ways to implement this type of tech.
Myo by Thalmic Labs interprets movements through an attached armband that reads gestures for a wide variety of uses. The armband senses muscle action and will transmit information to your phone, computer and other digitally enabled devices. The armband can sense which direction users are aiming for, as well as the speed they’re intending to go. Imagine a Myo-enabled crane, for example, that could be directed to a specific spot on the jobsite with the wave of your arm, and will slow down or speed up depending on what you need it to do. The company offers to work with tech developers to make Myo compatible with various types of software and equipment. Myo will be available to purchase for a mere $149 in early 2014, but the company is accepting pre-orders now.