While the standard mouse or touchpad give computer users a lot of control and freedom to manipulate the contents of their screen, they feel a little dated in the touchscreen era. Vicara, an up and coming technology company from India, have designed the Kai with the goal of revolutionising computer input for virtual reality and general use.
Sci-fi films like Minority Report and Iron Man show their leading men manipulating computer images with hand gestures to zoom, scroll, rotate and select. It looks cool in the movies and it seems like an intuitive and natural way to interact with a computerised display. Vicara has set its sights on turning such an idea into the standard for computer-users. According to the Vicara website, their goal is to “equip humanity for the future with … innovations in human augmentation technology”. Their handy and discreet wearable device, known as Kai, is strapped around the user’s palm and facilitates a wide range of customisable gesture-based commands.
Kai goes beyond simple motion sensing though. While swipes from side to side can be used to scroll sideways or between applications. The device also responds to rotation, being held at different angles, and even different orientations of the fingers, so one movement with an open hand can create a different effect than, say, the same movement with just two fingers pointing outwards. The device can recognise a vast range of different commands and each one can be programmed to carry out specific functions.
While many other gesture-based interfaces use cameras to track movement, Kai’s wearable motion sensors mean that it isn’t relegated to a fixed target like a computer screen. This makes it ideal for the growing market of VR and augmented reality programmes. At present, the device is being proposed for use by designers, but its creators are confident that it will gain popularity across a range of devices.
Vicara is reportedly due to launch an Indiegogo campaign to help bring the Kai to market in the near future.