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GestureTek: A New Way of Interacting With a Phone

Posted by: Olga Kharif on June 17, 2008

Thanks to the iPhone, Americans are going ga-ga over playing mobile games using the phone’s accelerometer. Interestingly, the Japanese might have gone through that phase already.

I recently talked with Ed Fowler, director of business development at a company called GestureTek, which puts Wii-like capabilities into mobile phones. The company’s software allows a camera-enabled device to recognize gestures. Using this technology, Japanese consumers can already flick their phone to the right to scroll through digital menus. And, come early 2009, customers of Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo will be able to open and close their fingers to zoom in or out of images and maps displayed on their phones.

What’s so cool about this new way of menu navigation is that it doesn’t require an accelerometer or an expensive camera to work. The camera has to simply recognize movements, and GestureTek’s software takes care of the rest. The software uses frame-rate speed to measure movement. The resulting device can allow an elderly person who lost her glasses to dial 911, or it can help a small child dial mom. It can also allow for some really fun mobile game play.

Fowler says that, back in 2006, DoCoMo introduced four phones using prior-generation GestureTek technology, and two phones with accelerometers (that’s a technology that the iPhone uses). The gesture phones sold out. Since then, DoCoMo has stopped carrying accelerometer-based phones, he says.

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Reader Comments


June 18, 2008 03:15 PM

Mr Ed Fowler @ Gesture Tek Wii capibility to mobile phones and resulting application to the developmental efforts, initiative will be a lot, that will necessiate development work, hiring etc.
Why don't we use the technologie's offered today. email: haroon.rashid


June 19, 2008 12:26 AM

Can't held to hear that kind of technology run on Android (Google mobile system operation project). Very very cool "interactive feature" for our gadget.

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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