Microsoft Researchers Developing Muscle-Based PC Interface (w/ Video)

October 30, 2009 by John Messina weblog
Scene from Minority Report
This scene is taken from the movie, Minority Report, that shows Tom Cruise accessing computer information using advanced gesture controls.

( -- Microsoft researches have teamed up with the University of Washington and the University of Toronto to develop a muscle-controlled interface that allows for hands-free, gesture-driven interaction with computers.

By attaching a band of electrodes to a person's forearm, can be read from different arm muscles. The signals are then compared to different hand and processed by software.

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Video Caption: Science advisor, Steven Spielberg has created a real-world implementation of the computer systems seen in the Minority Report.

The current model uses six electromyography sensors (EMG) and two ground electrodes placed in a ring around a person's upper right forearm for sensing finger movement. Two additional sensors are placed on the upper left forearm for identifying hand squeezes.

Since the sensors can't accurately interpret activity, software must be used to train the associate electrical signals with different gestures. By using standard machine-learning algorithms, the software learns to recognize EMG signals produced by a user performing gestures.

The algorithms use three aspects of the EMG signal: the magnitude of muscle activity, the rate of , and the wave patterns taking place across several at once.

The video will load shortly
Video: Microsoft

After the software is properly trained, using standard machine-learning algorithms, participants gestures were accurately determined 85 percent of the time. In the early stages of training, participants' gestures must be carefully controlled so that the machine-learning algorithms are properly trained.

The goal of this research is to provide a more seamless integration between user and computer. One day advance gesture control, using muscle-base interface, will become the norm and current PC interfaces, such as a mouse, will become obsolete.

More information: Visit Microsoft Research for muCIs

Via: Technology Review

© 2009

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4.5 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2009
This will be an incredible technology once it's developed. This could virtually eliminate conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries (assuming the gestures aren't too limited in variety). Plus it's undoubtedly more exciting to use than sitting at a desk!
1 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2009
I didn't see them doing anything useful in the video.

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