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Your body language is new remote

Get ready to say goodbye to your mouse and your remote control. In the coming months, Microsoft, Hitachi and major PC makers will begin selling devices that will allow people to flip channels on the TV or move documents on a computer monitor with hand gestures.

world Updated: Jan 13, 2010 01:16 IST

Get ready to say goodbye to your mouse and your remote control. In the coming months, Microsoft, Hitachi and major PC makers will begin selling devices that will allow people to flip channels on the TV or move documents on a computer monitor with hand gestures.

The technology, one of the most significant changes to human-device interfaces since the mouse appeared next to computers in the early 1980s, was being shown in private sessions during the immense Consumer Electronics Show here last week.

Past attempts at similar technology have proved clunky and disappointing. In contrast, the latest crop of gesture-powered devices arrives with a refreshing surprise: They actually work.

Stand in front of a TV with a gesture technology camera, and you can turn on the set with a soft punch into the air.

Flipping through channels requires a twist of the hand, and raising the volume occurs with an upward pat. If there is a photo on the screen, you can enlarge it by holding your hands in the air and spreading them apart and shrink it by bringing your hands back together as you would do with your fingers on a cell phone touch screen.

The gesture revolution will go mainstream later this year when Microsoft releases a new video game system known at this time as Project Natal. The gaming system is Microsoft’s attempt to one-up Nintendo’s Wii.

Where the Wii requires hypersensitive hand-held controllers to translate body motions into on-screen action, Microsoft’s Natal will require nothing more than the human body.