May 5 - Hand gestures in the air could soon simplify the operation of smart phones, say German computer scientists working on a so-called ''air writing'' device. Jim Drury reports.
The traditional way of sending text messages could soon be obsolete, if German computer scientists have their way. Scientists at Karlsruhe Institute for Technology have developed a method of making calls or sending messages with air gestures, using gloves with in-built acceleration sensors and gyroscopes. SOUNDBITE (English) "AIR WRITING" INNOVATOR, COMPUTER SCIENTIST AND RESEARCH ASSISTANT, CHRISTOPH AMMA, SAYING: "Our glove contains a motion sensor. It has an acceleration and angular rate sensor here on the back of the hand. That's the same sensors that are in every modern smart phone. And the signals of the hand motion are then transferred via bluetooth to, in our example, a laptop where they are further processed." Christoph Amma devised the glove after hearing friends complain about making mistakes on their tiny phone keyboards. SOUNDBITE (English) "AIR WRITING" INNOVATOR, COMPUTER SCIENTIST AND RESEARCH ASSISTANT, CHRISTOPH AMMA, SAYING: "They have small keyboards and they are sometimes hard to use and so we came up with the idea to use gestures, to use our air writing system instead of the small keyboards." Sensors in the prototype glove transfer text via bluetooth. The system can recognise up to 8,000 words and can adapt to a user's distinct writing style. Amma says its error rate is just three percent when adjusted to an individual. The institute has won a 60,000 euro Google Faculty Research Award to improve their innovation. Amma's team are seeking a business partner to go hand in glove with them as they attempt to revolutionise the mobile phone market.