Hands off augmented reality

By now many of you are familiar with augmented reality – the technology that enables smartphones to overlay interactive computer graphics over the real world via the camera and touchscreen on a smartphone. The next step: manipulating AR graphics with hand gestures.

That’s the idea behind Aurasma, an AR technology from UK based software company Autonomy (which HP is currently in the process of buying for a whopping $10.3 billion).
 
Aurasma – currently available for iPad 2, iPhone 4 and Android smartphones – not only overlays AR content, but also recognizes a user’s hand gestures. So, rather than tapping the device screen to interact with AR graphics, you can reach in front of the device and interact with the graphics in AR-space, reports Technology Review:
 
Autonomy quietly launched Aurasma in May, and GQ magazine has already used it to make some of its pages interactive. But the company announced only recently that Aurasma can track and respond to gestures to make virtual objects interactive. "We've now added finger recognition," says Mills, "so you get an experience a bit like using the Kinect. You reach out your hand and the content responds."
 
Which may sound gimmicky, but it could be a crucial step in moving AR apps from smartphones – which is still a bit clumsy, as smartphone AR requires users to hold the device in front of them all the time – to glasses enabled with wireless connectivity.
 
Meanwhile, here's a demo of Aurasma's AR in GQ magazine (minus the hand gesture bits): 
 

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