Natural user interfaces using gestures aren’t really new, but AirSwing, a technology developed by Toshiba, offers something unique: it neither requires expensive hardware nor substantial CPU resources to work. After installing AirSwing (which is in prototype stage) on your computer, all you need is just a conventional web cam as the input device to start.
In fact, NEC claims their UI system uses only 3% of the processing power of a 400MHz ARM 11 CPU. The way it works is that the display shows a semi-transparent image of the user, a menu and the content the user is supposed to interact with. It’s then possible move around or select pieces of content, for example flick through photos in a photo gallery, simply by making gestures.
The idea is that because AirSwing users see a picture of themselves on the screen, it’s clear for them where to “press” a virtual button or how to move hands at all times. Once it’s ready, Toshiba plans to market AirSwing to digital signage companies.
As you can see in the video below, Toshiba has some kinks to iron out before that can happen though: