Recent products like the Oculus Rift headset and Google Glass have done an amazing job of bringing Minority Report-style virtual and augmented reality into the real world. But, until now, controlling them involved using regular game console controllers or your eyes on Glass. A new product wants to add gesture control to the mix, using technology developed by DARPA for the U.S. military. Control VR is wearable technology that uses multiple sensors that can measure your arm, hand and even finger movements. With seven sensors on each arm, the Control VR offers much finer movement control than an optical system like Microsoft’s Kinect. Each finger has its own tiny sensor along with the wrist and elbow and chest, allowing the system to be sensitive to even the smallest movements.
New technologies such as Google Glass and Oculus’ Rift headset are making it easier than ever for us to get our heads into augmented and virtual realities. But while we get our heads into these alternate worlds and use our eyes to check our emails, surf the internet, even destroy enemy starfighters with a spiral of missiles, our hands are left behind in the real world. California-based Control VR wants to change that. The company today launched a Kickstarter for its Control VR wearable device, a glove-like system that fits over the user’s arms and shoulders and can accurately sense the precise movements of fingers before translating that motion into virtual or augmented realities. Unlike motion sensing controllers such as Microsoft’s Kinect, the Control VR can map precise arm and finger motions without the use of an external camera. Alex Sarnoff, Control VR’s co-founder and CEO, says “existing motion-sensing technology is crude, insufficient and limited by confined spaces and camera systems.” His company’s solution takes up little space and doesn’t require an external device pointed at the user. Instead, fine control is made possible by a set of tiny sensors that are placed on the user’s fingers and arms.