It goes without saying that Microsoft has done a wonderful job with the Kinect. It has been successful technologically attracting a lot of developer love, it has broken sales records worldwide from a business perspective and for an end-user, and it has devised the next-gen input system for home-computing devices.
However, it will be interesting to note that Microsoft is not the only one working on a gesture and motion controlled input system. Google has filed a patent ten days ago for a similar touch and gesture controlled system, and it clearly says that the patent is for “portable electronic devices”, which can only be considered as cellphones for now. The abstract of the patent says,
Systems and methods are provided for controlling a portable electronic device. The device includes a built-in image-capturing device. The system detects, through the image-capturing device, motions of user finger over the image-capturing device. The system determines a pattern of the detected motions using timing information related to the detected motions, and controls the portable electronic device based on the determined pattern. The system also receives inputs from other input devices associated with the portable electronic device, and controls the device based on combination of the determined pattern and the received inputs.
The patent speaks extensively about detecting motion patterns, and it seems like these motions will be used as gestures. There are references to two distinct motion types in the patent filing. The first one is “touch motion”, which is the typical touch interface on a touchscreen device. The second one however, is a “release motion”, which is the gesture controlled input system Google has in plan. It talks capturing and reading hovering motion alongside other gesture mechanisms.
More details on the patent filing can be found at this page.