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This prototype Microsoft keyboard also reads hand gestures

prototype microsoft keyboard also reads hand gestures

You’ve heard of mice and keyboards, obviously, and you’ve probably heard of gesture control tech too. What about a keyboard with gesture control recognition tech built into it?

That’s what Microsoft showed off at the Computer Human Interaction conference this week in Toronto. The keyboard, which doesn’t exactly have an official name (to our knowledge), is best described as a new twist on an existing theme.

The keyboard (pictured above) has 64 movement-detecting sensors built into it. By waving your hand above the left or right side of the keyboard, you can open the app bar or the Charms menu in Windows 8, for example. Microsoft suggested that such gestures could also be used to replace common keyboard shortcuts.

“What we’ve found is that for some of the more complicated keyboard shortcut combinations, performing gestures seems to be a lot less overhead for the user,” says Stuart Taylor, a senior research engineer for Microsoft.

Gesture controls have already been introduced to PCs, with devices like Leap Motion and companies like PointGrab offering different ways of interacting with your computer aside from the standard mouse and keyboard. They haven’t exactly caught on though, and most PC users have reacted to gesture control tech with indifference, opting to stick with their mice and keyboards instead.

If Microsoft is to be believed, they envision peripherals like this not as replacements for common peripherals like mice, but devices that can serve to enhance the Windows experience.

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