While we may still be a few years away from Minority Report-like interfaces, a new development from Microsoft Research could change the way we interact with tablets like the Surface.
Having already changed the motion control world with its Kinect camera for Xbox and windows, Microsoft Research has developed Digits, a new wristband sensor that can accurately track individual finger movements.
Completely made out of off the shelf components, the wristband consists of an IR camera, IR laser line generator, an IR diffuse illuminator and an inertial measurement unit.
The IR camera then captures three different images in rapid succession, combining them to recreate an accurate representation of the hands position in real time.
Potential game changer
Microsoft believes that this new setup has the potential to change gesture controls for not just gaming, but also as an additional interface for tablets.
Because the sensor creates an accurate representation of the hand and requires no external line of sight device, the wristband can seamlessly integrate with touch controls.
It can also enable eyes-free controls, allowing control of a mobile device without needing to take the device out of a pocket or bag.
Some examples of eye-free application includes controlling volume and tuning options in a radio application, or being able to answer a call by simply giving the thumbs up symbol.
There's no guarantee the wristband will ever become a retail product, but pair it with some Google Project Glass eyewear, a Kinect and a high speed internet connection and we've got ourselves a pretty futuristic interface system.