Introducing the Zerkin Glove – Intuitive Interaction in Augmented Reality

Augmented reality apps on mobile devices are all the rage these days. And they will probably remain so for a couple of years.

But –

Augmented Reality Glasses are around the corner

When using the iPhone (or similar mobile device) for an augmented reality experience, the interaction is pretty straight forward – hold your hands up with your iPhone pointing to your target. Want more options? Touch the screen. Had enough – tuck it back in your pocket.

How do you interact with augmented reality (AR) when it’s constantly in your field of view – overlaid on your glasses?

Interacting with Augmented reality

Are we going to operate knobs on the glasses?

Pete touched a stud on his spex, pulled down a glowing menu,and adjusted his visual take on the outside world. (Taklamakan, short story by Bruce Sterling)

-probably not beyond pressing the “on” button…

Are we going to be surrounded by rings?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

-Ringo looks cool, but we’re looking for a new metaphor. The traditional keyboard (albeit arched and projected on the ground) might not the most intuitive way.


-Visionary, but touching thumbs instead of using a mouse? (oh, and can I lose the backpack?)

Eye gaze tracking

– that’s pretty good for point and click. But what about more complex gestures?

(by the way, this could be great for Tennis)

Interactive clothing?

-Absolutely. This will probably be available to the public as an intuitive interaction with AR displays in 5-10 years

So is there anything that could be used for an intuitive interaction with augmented reality Today?

Are there any contemporary options?

Logitech Glove Controller (P5)

The P5 was an inexpensive, good looking glove-like, that tracks finger movement – so why did it flop?

Probably because of accuracy (or lack thereof) and that fact it requires an external reference (IR base similar to the Wii.) Others may contend it never found a really good use. You can still try it for yourself for under $75!


The Accelaglove has the right price (<$500) and the technology is promising – but currently focusing on translating hand movements of sign language.

Peregrine Power Glove

The Peregrine Power Glove was a huge promise at E3 2009. It was also my biggest disappointment: Using your thumb to touch your fingers to feed the computer with various commands…on a good day it could replace the keyboard when playing a real-time strategy game.

There is a bunch of other gloves that may be good at certain tasks – but not suited for intuitive-affordable AR.

Introducing the Zerkin Glove

The Zerkin Glove is a new invention by Noah Zerkin.

It’s a low-cost, motion and position capturing, data glove for 3D interaction with virtual objects in augmented reality (AR) environments.

Watch the latest iteration of the prototype in this video.

It won’t replace computers and mouses as 3D designer tool anytime soon, but for scenarios where there is no access to mouse or PC it could offer a truly intuitive interaction – at an affordable price. One glaring example is the following: architect and client on location discussing interior design plan. This scenario is about conveying impressions and enabling rough changes (what if scenarios) –  which do not require high accuracy. There are other interfaces probably more suited for VR. But when it comes to AR – this is as good as it gets.

For more info see the Zerkin Glove website.

Want to see a live demo? Come to ISMAR 2009.

Noah is looking for investors, developers, and fans.

Show some love for the Zerkin Glove!


For full disclosure, the author of this post is the business adviser for the Zerkin Glove.

Live from E3 ’09: The Return of the Glitz or the Future of Gaming?

Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is the bastion of the video games business. If GDC is for developers, E3 is for the suites and the media, the best timing to launch a new game, console, or business in the interactive entertainment world.
This event typically epitomizes the progressive blending of movies and games and this year also marks the return of the glitz.

E3 junk Pile

E3: A junk pile in front of the LA convention center

What about the future of the gaming industry? Can you find it here?

Here are the top 4 news that caught my attention.

1) Microsoft’s project Natal

Probably the most far reaching announcement of the pre show press conference was a new addition to the Xbox that will “change the way we interact with computers” (Bill Gates). A depth sensing camera and chip that recognizes natural human gestures, developed by 3DV Systems and acquired by Microsoft. More on the announcement at Seeking Alpha.

Although this is just a concept video, it seems that technically Microsoft has leapfrogged Sony’s eye toy. But Sony has already been dabbling with camera based applications for several years now. Expect a good fight between the two. Competition is good.

2) Peregrine Glove – Iron Will tech

Peregrine play

My biggest disapointement was the Peregrine Glove. It promised to be a “Wearable technology like no other”. It looks very cool, but it turns out to be  just a touch sensitive glove. Using your thumb touch different parts of your fingers to feed the computer with various commands…on a good day it could replace the keyboard when playing a real-time strategy game.

3) RealityPro by Digital Extreme Technologies Inc.

As I stroll through the crowded ailes on the show floor, I notice two geeky looking guys fighting with imaginary swords…and huge markers cover their forehead and weapons…

AR sword fight

Meet Bob Ladrach (with my kind of hair style) VP product development at Digital Extreme, an Augmented Reality enthusiast since 1992, showcasing a concept AR sword game. The demo was using Vuzix VR with mini cams and Artoolkit markers glued to it.

Bob gets AR: he preaches that it should be low cost, user friendly, and that it should look cool. AR technology is maturing; all it needs is someone to create an experience that people would want to pay for.

I buy that.

XTD Goggles

DXT think they can pull it off. They’re working on RealityPro a mobile AR hardware platform: goggles + portable mini computer + input devices for interaction with objects and characters in the 3d world.
“Reality Pro turns a walk in the park into a quest.”

DXT is essentially a hardware company and will encourage developers to build games and apps loaded on “easy to use mini cartridges”. Ultimately the content is what will make or break this device.

Games alfresco: How’s it different than A_rage‘s attempt?
Bob: 4 years of hardware advancement.

Games alfresco: when will it be ready?
Bob: in about a year.

Games alfresco: how much will it cost?

Bob: I can’t really tell. The first, probably $2500. Down the road it will be reduced to $400-500 a piece.

A bit sketchy, but good luck Bob!

4) Mightier

A nice surprise awaited me at the IndieCade booth, an organization dedicated to showcasing the future of independent games.

And here is one example from E3 ’09:



Mightier solve

1. Print puzzles on real paper

2. Draw your own shapes based on the hints (dots and numbers)

3. Draw your own character within the given frame

Mightier view

4. Point the solved puzzle and character to your webcam

5. Based on your own “art” the game generates 3d shapes that help your own created character reach its target

Yes, you’re still glued to the screen, but it’s a nice step towards blending the real and the virtual.

Wish Mightier luck in winning the 2009 IndieCade festival.

So, are any of these game changing? You be the judge.

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