Microsoft is again in the news today for its interface research. This time it’s kind of a Zen koan. Instead of interacting with a touch screen, your fingers dance meaningfully all around the flat-on-its-back device, up to 10 cm. away. For example, moving both index fingers clockwise could rotate an image on the display; moving them in opposite directions could zoom into the image. Moving both fingers back and to the left will bring up the Zapruder film.
Radically expanding the range of a gesture interface like this, and not requiring that it be gripped, could have enormous potential for people whose dexterity impairment might otherwise rule them out for touchscreen use. There’s still the issue of how blind and low vision users will interact with it, but reducing the target accuracy — make the right gesture anywhere in space — would help there as well.