Now that multi-touch mice are out, what's the next step in mouse evolution? Pranav Mistry of the MIT Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces Group reckons we may next do away with the mouse altogether—and no, he's not talking about voice or thought control.
Rather, using about $20 worth of components (and some code to tie it all together), Mistry has put together an infrared laser and camera system that translates finger movements into cursor movements and clicks on screen. Essentially, all the user has to do is pretend he's holding an invisible mouse and move his hand and fingers accordingly. Check out this video demonstration:
More details can be perused on the project page. Going by the video, the scheme works and successfully interprets both left and right clicks, although motion tracking seems to be a little laggy. This is, of course, still very much a prototype. Mistry says refinements to the "computer vision algorithms" could open the door to multi-touch gestures.
By the way, this isn't Mistry's first neat human interface concept. The research assistant is also behind SixthSense technology, a mouseless interface that's portable and contextually projects content onto real-world objects. Pretty fascinating stuff.