Future of Input Devices: Not Voice but Sign Language

Future of Input Devices: Not Voice but Sign Language
VPAD from Viable

Here is a brilliant video about the VPAD. It is a Smart device for Deaf people which allows them to communicate with sign language and video through the internet. The gadget is made by Viable and currently in beta. The deaf and HOH (Hard of Hearing) community is relatively small but very interested. Apparently a normal Skype or iChat video connection isn’t enough to let them communicate with sign language. As they explain in the video the speed of communication via sign language is 3 times as fast as normal speech. This means that they need at least a 30 frames per second video feed unless they want to miss half the words.

So think about that for a minute. I never believed that the future of data input would be voice recognition. Unless the circumstances are perfect, and they never are, speech recognition is too slow and error prone. I’m in a noisy office surrounded by talking people and music all day. No way that voice recognition will ever work for me. But sign language would be a lot easier to recognize for a computer than sound. And sign language is probably (I hope!) easier to learn than typing with 10 fingers, which I can’t do either. And that would mean that just by gesturing at my computer I would be able to input text 3 times faster than talking to it. Now THAT would work!

Look at this video not just for the gadget or deaf people but see it as a demo for how one day you, or your kids, will be inputting text into the computer:

Video by Vincent Everts, made during CES 2008.

Read next: Search Update: Yahoo, Twingly & Quintura