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Air Force experiments with ''gesture recognition'' technology

Thu, 07/29/2010 - 10:09am
Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor

Jason LombergWired has a piece discussing the Air Force Research Laboratory’s experiments with motion sense technology. Using a device similar to Nintendo’s “Power Glove”, the folks over at Wright Patterson AFB feel that “gesture recognition” can help fly planes. 

According to the labs, “Warfighter productivity is limited by the need to operate equipment via physical keys, switches, and buttons and to coordinate 3-D events viewed from different perspectives via time-consuming voice communications.”

Nintendo’s Power Glove peripheral (credit to Boing Boing). Could a device like this help fly airplanes?

Playstation-MoveThe natural point-of-reference would be the video game industry, which is embracing motion sense on a massive scale. From Microsoft’s Kinect, to Nintendo’s Wii MotionPlus, and the Playstation Move, the industry is investing heavily in motion sense. Spencer Ackerman (of Wired) buys into this view that motion sense is the “next big thing.” As Ackerman states, “gesture recognition tech is the direction that gaming has been heading ever since the Wii taught everyone how to bowl virtually.”

At E3 2010, I had the opportunity to try Sony’s Move peripheral, and the technology was indeed remarkable (though its applications may be limited). I’m sure the military could find endless applications for such advanced technology. One thing’s certain: the new generation of soldiers is intimately familiar with video games. This is why bomb disposal units are often spotted with X-Box controllers. It makes sense for the military to exploit the soldiers’ natural affinity for video games.

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