No, Microsoft is not getting into the car-wash business. But it is releasing “Touchless,” multitouch software from Microsoft Office Labs that uses a regular Web camera and everyday objects as input. You can think of this as a low-end version of its Touchwall technology, which uses more precise lasers to detect movement and objects. The software developer kit is available now under an open-source Microsoft Public License. The SDK only works on Windows (what did you expect?).
Like Microsoft Surface and Touchwall, the Touchless software makes it possible to create applications that turn hand gestures and physical objects into an input device like a mouse. Touchless detects both the size and location of “color markers” (which can be fingers, toys, pens, M&Ms) as they move through space. Microsoft engineer Mike Wasserman
s Ian Sands and Chris Pratley have created four demos to showcase the technology:
- Snake – where you control a snake with a marker.
- Defender – up to 4 player version of a pong-like game.
- Map – where you can rotate, zoom, and move a map using 2 markers.
- Draw – the marker is used to guess what…. draw!
Try it out. Free TechCrunch T-shirt to whoever creates the coolest Touchless app and uploads a video in comments.