Computer Gesture Controls- 5/11/14

In sci-fi movies like "Minority Report," this is the promise of gesture-control. Already in today's living rooms there are games you can control by moving your hands … TVs that work with a wave … and some smart phones you can answer by swiping the air. "Hello." And in Consumer Reports' labs, the HP Envy, a gesture-controlled computer with an infrared sensor built in. Rich Fisco helped check it out. Rich Fisco "The Envy uses Leap Motion technology, which senses your hand motions to control the screen." One game lets you tilt your hands over the Leap Motion sensor to move sea creatures. Another lets you shoot at bottles with a flick of your fingers.

Some of the gesture-controlled programs come already loaded. In the Airspace store, you can download over 200 more. And if you want to use gesture-control with programs you already have, there are apps that let you use Leap Motion to scroll through pages … or click buttons. But Consumer Reports says there are problems. Rich Fisco "We found the controls can get frustrating." You have to master different gestures for each program, so there's a lot to learn.

Another issue: You can't let your hand stray too far from the Leap Motion sensor, or it won't work. And shoulders and wrists can get achy. Consumer Reports says gesture control may be the "wave" of the future. But for now, it's easier just to tap … and type.

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Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

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