Microsoft, as you well know, do not just make video game consoles and computer software intended to make office life easier. The behemoth that Bill Gates built is constantly tinkering in the garage for the next big thing, or at least the next weirdest thing. This had led to all kinds of neat inventions that may or may not ever see the light of day. The company’s newest innovation? A super cool bracelet that lets you do all sorts of neat stuff.
Microsoft’s Digits sensor consists of an infrared illuminator and an infrared camera mounted underneath your wrist and pointing up at your fingers. As you move your fingers, the IR signal that they reflect changes, and the infrared camera can decode that signal and use it to generate a “fully articulated hand skeleton” showing the gestures that you make. It’s like Kinect on hyperdrive, offering heretofore unmatched detail as to what your hand is doing at any given moment. Also cool? The device isn’t tethered to anything. It can, in theory, be used with any gadget in your arsenal. The system is completely mobile and can be used with smartphone and PC alike. Think, making a phone call by creating a gesture in midair to get a picture of what you’ll be able to do with it.
This is a functional prototype and, as of yet, will not be offered for sale. Microsoft is indicating it wants to shrink the device significantly before it would ship to store shelves. They are eyeing something the size of your average watch or, gulp, even smaller. They say ultimately the tech could be shrunken small enough to put be inserted in your wrist as an implant. Dystopian future here we come!