A team of Georgia Tech researchers has developed a novel technology that could make managing text or other mobile apps as simple as “1-2-3.” With the use of acoustic chirps, which are produced from a ring and are received by a wristband, such as a smartwatch, the system is capable of recognizing twenty two different micro-finger gestures that can be programmed to several commands, such as a set of numbers, a T9 keyboard interface, or application commands, including playing the music or stopping it.
How the system can identify hand gestures by making use of the twelve bones of the fingers and digits from ‘1’ to ‘10’ in American Sign Language (ASL) at a high rate of accuracy is demonstrated in a video. Cheng Zhang, a Ph.D. student in the School of Interactive Computing, led the effort. He stated that some interactions are not appropriate, socially. With always having a wearable on you, you should have the capability to interact through that wearable at any time in a discreet and appropriate way. “When we are talking now, I can still respond to texts sent to me, without interrupting our interaction,” he quipped.
The system, which is called ‘FingerPing,’ is also an initial step towards being able to identify ASL as a translator in the near future. In contrast to other technologies that need using a glove or several other obtrusive wearables, this technique require only a watch and a thumb ring. The ring makes acoustic chirps, which move through the hand and are received by the receiver on the watch. Zhang further stated that the research is a proof of the concept for a technology, which could be developed and improved in the future.