A new technique promises in-air gesture control of everything from mobile phones to flat-panel TVs, according to the MIT researchers, who will demonstrate their work in Yokohama, Japan, this weekend at Siggraph Asia (Dec. 16-19). Look for gesture control on consumer products by 2011. R.C.J.
Gesture recognition today requires a 3-D image sensor that can detect depth. But researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claim that the addition of a layer of photodiodes to the backside of a liquid-crystal display lets the LCD recognize hand gestures made in front of the screen. The system is called a bidirectional screen, because light goes into it as well as comes out of it. Most of the time the LCD operates as usual, coloring light that passes through it from the backlight. But periodically, and too quickly for humans to perceive, the LCD switches to become an array of tiny apertures, allowing light to enter and form images on the photodiodes from slightly different angles. That information can then be used to calculate the 3-D depth and enable gesture recognition.
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