Harmonic Research demonstrated the Lightglove Virtual Controller during the International Consumer Eletronics Show (CES) 2004. The Lightglove received the CES Best of Innovations award in Accessibility because this technology has potential to improve the quality of life for individuals with limited mobility by making it easier for them to interface with their electronics.
The Lightglove device can be worn either on the wrist or strapped to an armrest. This allows the user to manipulate an onscreen cursor or use it as an X10 switch controller. A fraction of an inch of finger motion within the light beams can perform programmed tasks. Those with ALS or paralysis can use Morse code to prolong or enhance their ability to communicate. Since only light is being touched, it is the first wireless wearable "no-impact" interface device.
Although this technology was developed for accessibility, the broader paradigm can be described as a personal controller for use with those lifestyle items encountered everyday that require a button. This would include computers, entertainment center components, car radios, kitchen gadgets as well as say ATM machines. Instead of being in close proximity and then pushing a physical button, it will be like having a watch remote with a light button similar to the virtual interaction seen in "Minority Report".
With an infrared sensor or wireless connectivity and a thin software layer, this technology can be incorporated into a wide array of devices. The current cross platform compliant configuration uses a "plug-n-play" standard HID driver and USB connection for the base station. The accessibility device will be available May 2004 at a cost of US$399. Future applications include virtual gaming controller, "air-piano", remote control, gesture recognition, intrinsically safe "no spark" communications, among others.