What is Gesture-Based Computing?

It is already common to interact with a new class of devices entirely by using natural movements and gestures. The Microsoft Surface, Apple’s iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch), and other gesture-based systems accept input in the form of taps, swipes, and other ways of touching. The Nintendo Wii and Microsoft’s Kinect system extend that to hand and arm motions, or body movement. These are the first in a growing array of alternative input devices that allow computers to recognize and interpret natural physical gestures as a means of control. Gesture-based computing allows users to engage in virtual activities with motions and movements similar to what they would use in the real world, manipulating content intuitively. The idea that simple gestures and natural, comfortable motions can be used to control computers is opening the way to a host of input devices that look and feel very different from the keyboard and mouse — and that are increasingly enabling our devices to infer meaning from the movements and gestures we make.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 1, 2013It should allow all students to be able to control software programs in a way that does not have to be "learned". For those with less ability to control mice and other motor skills devices, this could be an equalizer for them.
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 1, 2013The LeapMotion, available in a few months, right now has 12,000 developers working on software programs to take advantage of the gesture-based computing. Whether any of those developers are in the K-12 arena remains to be seen.
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • - kathyschrock kathyschrock Mar 1, 2013I think the natural user interfaces, when they are not "special" anymore, will just become powerful ways to control computers and we will not even think about them. The "swipe" on the iPad was really unique when it came out, and now we actually feel cheated when using a device that does not take advantage of the touch screen.
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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