Virtual Sphere Keyboard Can Make You The Next Iron Man

A group of Lund University engineering students have designed a touch-free interface that enables advanced control of digital devices – simply by twisting and tapping an imaginary sphere.

When Örs-Barna Blénessy and Holger Andersson met at Lund University, they were writing a lab report one day Virtual Keyboardwhen they started discussing a famous movie that featured touch-free interaction.

”It looked good, but you wouldn’t be able to do it for more than maybe 30 minutes. Why was there no intuitive and realistic way to control your gadgets touch-free?” says Örs-Barna Blénessy.

That was the beginning of their company, Erghis, which has since expanded to include 5 more people.

The algorithm-based solution allows you to type or control your gadgets touch-free. A software program takes motion-tracking data from existing, third party motion sensors and simulates a sphere in your hands. You then have access to hundreds of commands, by only using three gestures (or four if you count breaking the sphere apart as a gesture).

From there, you can potentially type an email from across the room from your phone, switch channels on your TV without a remote control, or even control an industrial robot from afar.

“The potential applications will only keep multiplying, as touch-free technology becomes more commonplace in society”, says Örs-Barna Blénessy.

The technology is currently in an alpha-stage development, and the interface needs to be developed further, say the students. Another challenge is that the technique is dependent on how third-party sensors evolve, and how advanced they become in the future.

Will touch-free interaction become so mainstream that we need to replace the QWERTY keyboard? If so, we may all be tapping and twisting an invisible sphere soon, if Erghis are right.


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