The technology is built around a high speed camera, running at 154 frames per second, which captures finger position and movement in 3D, and translates it, using a “Lucas-Kanade Algorithm”, into actions. For example, rather than tapping a screen, a user could tap air to type or dial a phone number. And to scroll through a list of pictures or contact entries would require a similar swipe through the air--no touching the phone required.
Tim Hornyak, writing on the Crave Gadget Blog for Cnet, says this example of a “gestural interface” follows work by MIT (SixthSense), Toshiba, and Pioneer. Still, it raises the question: what’s the point? Touchscreens, while at times greasy, work well enough to get the job done. Like VHS beat out Beta, a more sophisticated interface technology won’t win out by virtue of its technical superiority--it has to fulfill a distinctly perceived purpose. Wagging your finger at your iPhone doesn’t seem to be a compelling enough reason.
Still, as we begin to place greater demands on mobile devices, it may be possible that the 2D world of the touchscreen will need replacement. In that case, a 3D option, such as this one, may well make an appearance in the marketplace.