To be honest, I was going to headline this article "Toshiba Magic Waving Handy-Spanky-Fingery Gestures Are Perfect for Harry Potter and Online Porn Users," but I decided against it at the last minute for obvious reasons, even when I had two powerful arguments in favor. You will understand them when you watch Helga-the Good Toshiba Witch of West Berlin-and myself in the video: Argument Número Uno: apparently this gestures-in-the-air control requires real magic powers. Watch Helga and myself getting frustrated, trying to control the pointer on the screen. Argument Two: I can't think of any really useful application except having the ability to control your computer without having to touch your keyboard or screen at any time-and therefore, keeping them clean of any crumbles and/or fluids. The idea is good. The implementation is bad. Unfortunately, the whole experience is quite frustrating, and while they are showing the same technology in an experimental TV-which has greater potential-it doesn't really work well there either. I asked the german Kirsten Dunst and she told me an example of this being useful: if you are "cooking" and have your hands dirty, you wouldn't like to touch the keyboard or the mousepad, so you can use gestures to control de computer. Fair enough, that's one market right there: "dirty hands chefs who use their computers while they are cooking". I can see this being useful in TVs, however, replacing the remote completely. And maybe in computers too, but not for pointer dragging and clicking. That's just useless. This technology needs a completely new graphic user interface to be really successful-like the simple Wii interface or the stuff shown in Minority Report. An interface that will allow to intuitively point at something or doing a hand gesture to trigger an action. As it is now, it just doesn't fly. What do you think? Do you think this is useful? Is there any else to this than its "wow!-what?-why?" factor? [More IFA 2008 coverage]
You have to hand it to these girls. They're not only cute, they make use of their intelligence, too. And that should be commended. Then again, I live in Beverly Hills, so you don't see too much of that combo here.
As for the interface, it is yet another thing that reminds me of the late 80s Knowledge Navigator video from Apple. It's cool that someone has a working product that uses more natural, hand gestures for communication but it strikes me that, much like with languages, there isn't one universal set of hand gestures for the planet.
It will be cool to see how it plays out. Like, will there be regional gesture kits instead of language kits for operating systems, etc?