Fantasy tales are frequently spun around enchanters with the ability to wave their hands to manipulate their reality. Are you ready to become one of those enchanters? Ricardo Santos, CEO and co-founder of start-up Gesto, wants to put the power to manipulate your reality into your hands with his open source gesture control platform. The platform is the latest addition to the gesture controlled wearable market, which is expanding at a rapid pace and is of particular interest to those involved with the Internet of Things.
“We developed technology that allows users to create their own gestures,” Santos explained, which is what sets the technology apart from current devices that only allow for certain motions or gesticulations. Gesto does not rely on cameras to detect user movement, significantly increasing the user’s freedom of movement and interactions. “You can move around a specific location without being concerned about the limited space afforded by the camera.”
Simple, Flexible, and Expandable
Gesto’s gesture control platform enables the user to operate and interact with electronic devices without extensive adjustments or programming knowledge. It employs an algorithm that allows it to recognize movement from various parts of your body and utilizes an integration of those signals. “It works by reading the muscle activity of the user and the motion patterns,” Santos elaborated. Users can make directional gestures (such as rotational movement or vertical motions) or common hand motions (like pinching or pressing), draw in the air (letters, numbers, or designs), or simply wave to create a new way to interact with their devices. The platform operates with a more organic, natural movement range than current wearables, which typically include only a limited number of movements.
Gesto is currently marketing two versions of its platform, the Caelum starter kit (4x4cm) and Stella developer’s kit (3x3cm). The starter kit is targeted at the user who needs functionality now, so it includes a simple app that does not require any programming ability. Users who go with the developer’s kit have access to its GitHub repository for the source code, and the platform is compatible with both Arduino and Raspberry devices.
Santos explained that Gesto is about user freedom, so the kit comes with “3D print files so people can print out bracelets for their forearms—or wristbands, legbands, whatever they want!”
Fields of Gold
Since the IoT often involves wireless connections and limitless areas of operation, gesture control platforms like Gesto’s will be key in revolutionizing functionality. Gesture control devices have a symbiotic interplay with VR headsets, making them obvious components of the gaming and entertainment industry. However, future applications of the Gesto platform won’t stop in the game room. Musicians and artists will be able to explore their creativity in depth, while music instructors can enhance the learning experience for students playing instruments. The healthcare industry could greatly benefit from the partnering of fine motor skills with technology. This is especially true in the development of prosthetics, which could bring new freedom and functionality to the world of those suffering from lost limbs or have difficulty with performing common tasks. The platform also has implications for those who utilize sign language to communicate, offering a quicker, more enhanced method of relaying information. Fashion houses are already involved in incorporating tech into smart clothing and e-textiles as a means of modern expression; Gesto has the potential to be placed inside shirts, jackets, sleeves, or gloves to enhance the user experience.
Gesture control platforms like Gesto open up fresh vistas for enhancing productivity in the office, giving companies an edge on the competition. The potential lies in the ability to create enterprise-based content such as presentations, PowerPoint shows, or even 3D vector images. Areas like graphic design can take on new elements with the enhanced user interface, since current keyboard and point-and-click technologies are too slow to quickly and reliably keep up with human thought. A gesture control platform would allow the user to develop and edit material on the fly, more fully harnessing the user’s creative energy. With the rise of the freelance economy, disparate team members in various parts of the globe could interact on projects more fully, avoiding the delays that typically come from shooting a project from one member to another.
Large institutions like universities and research facilities would greatly benefit as gesture control platforms can enhance data management, in-depth studies, and explorations. Imagine the power of interacting directly with massive data sets, working remotely–yet still precisely—with dangerous chemicals, or performing virtual surgical operations: suddenly, the convenience of gesture control becomes tangible.
The fact that Gesto’s platform is open source translates directly into real cost savings, leveling the playing field for small start-ups. Wearables enterprises can tweak the code easily for their devices or apps, and get timely insights on coding issues. Being able to avoid getting chained to an outside vendor for software, especially early in the start-up’s life, is one more way open source can shave costs. Since Gesto is relying on open source, it automatically confers a certain amount of security in that bugs are typically revealed (and fixed) quickly.
Made in the USA
Many start-ups are outsourcing the manufacturing of their products to Asia, but Gesto is planning to keep it all in-house. The kits will be manufactured in the US, giving the Gesto platform an edge over other devices in regards to quality control issues and time to market.
Gesto has the support of Autodesk, and was one of Hello Tomorrow’s top 100 startups. The startup is going with a CrowdSupply campaign, using it as a springboard for furthering their growth options.
Originally published on Examiner on July 18, 2015. Author Scott Amyx.
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