Thumb-typing texts or emails on a smartphone’s keypad can be excruciating. The touchscreen is uber sensitive, the keys are too small and you spend more time correcting your mistakes — or the auto-correct mistakes — than you do writing.
Computer scientists at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology understand this. That’s why Christoph Amma and colleagues have created an innovative “air-writing” glove system that allows users to draw letters in the air with their hand.
The glove is equipped with accelerometers and gyroscopes that detect hand movements. The system then identifies which letters are being drawn and converts them into digital text, which can then be wirelessly entered into an email, text message or other mobile apps.
The system uses pattern recognition software to interpret gestures and is capable of recognizing approximately 8,000 words, along with complete sentences. The only caveat? You have to “write” in all-capital letters.
Currently, the model has an error rate of 11 percent, but that drops to three percent once it identifies the user’s air-writing style. Perhaps this might appeal to people with sloppy penmanship?
Amma hopes to shrink the sensors so they can fit into a smaller, more practical application, like a wrist band. He even imagines a gesture-tracking system small enough to fit into a smartphone — one that could detect movements and process data, all in one.
Credit: Volker Steger