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Robotic Computer Controlled Only by Gestures

By New Scientist

March 3, 2009

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Frederic Kaplan at the Swiss Federal Institutes in Lausanne has designed and built the QB1 computer, a PC-based robot that plays music and games and is operated entirely through gestures. Conventional personal computers are too demanding to interact with, Kaplan says. The QB1 computer, which Kaplan created with industrial designer Martino d'Esposito, has a screen mounted on a motorized robotic neck that tilts to face a user, but lacks standard physical interfaces such as a keyboard or mouse. The robot was demonstrated last week at the Lift conference in Geneva.

Users interact with QB1 using hand and arm gestures detected by a motion-sensing camera built into the screen. The screen also includes LEDs that illuminate a room with infrared light used by that camera to perceive depth and gain a rough 3D picture of its surroundings. The computer varies the size of text on its screen to suit the distance of the user.

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