The innovation: Touchscreens are so last year. Microsoft researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a motion bracelet that uses a camera-based sensor and an infrared laser beam to detect the slightest movements of your hand. The effect, they say, allows you to move your fingers individually, granting you 3D control over your computer screen — all without having to wear an actual glove. (Watch a demonstration below.) The technology, nicknamed the Digits Sensor, could have huge applications in gaming, design work, and even your living room, as its fixed position on your wrist means you don't need to sit within the confines of a motion camera like the Kinect sensor for it to work. "You can interact while moving from room to room or running down the street," said project leader David Kim. "Ultimately, we would like to reduce Digits to the size of a watch that can be worn all the time."
The reaction: Picture yourself twisting an imaginary dial to raise the volume of music playing from a radio or TV, or tapping a finger on a make-believe number pad in front of your face to make a phone call, says BBC News. The Digits Sensor could soon make all of that a reality. We get the feeling that Digits is just "the tip of the iceberg," says Matt Farington-Smith at MSN. This thing could allow you to answer your mobile phone while it's still in your pocket, or switch channels on the TV without having to find your remote. What we essentially have here is "the ultimate gadget for couch potatoes." Take a look: