Recognizing hand gestures as a smart controller

April 10, 2017
by Mark Ollig

We interact with our smartphone applications by tapping, pressing, and swiping our fingers on a hard-to-see, tiny screen.

This small screen can sometimes become too cramped of an area for comfortably interacting with our programs.

Wouldn’t it be nice instead, to use the large area above and on the surface of a table for entering finger handwriting and waving hand gesture commands our devices would understand?

These gestures would be “seen” and interpreted by technology inside a small device, and converted into command actions for controlling smartdevices and other electronic gadgets.

Recently, I reviewed a new product coming soon to market called Welle (pronounced vell-uh), which in German means “wave.”

“Welle gives you the ability to use unlimited simple gestures to control your favorite devices, appliances, and apps [applications] – so powerful it even tracks your finger movements and recognizes handwriting. With Welle, the entire surface becomes connected to sonar, allowing you to use hand gestures to control all your smart devices,” the company stated in a press release.

Welle is a small, portable, ancillary device which interfaces via a wireless Bluetooth connection with compatible televisions, lighting, fans, heating/air-conditioning, audio speakers, curtains/blinds, smart computing devices, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices.

Welle technology tracks your fingers when you touch a surface. It also recognizes handwriting motions, transforming them into customized commands for whatever device is linked with it.

If your smart coffee maker has Bluetooth; link it with a Welle.

Then, while you’re seated at the kitchen table and want some coffee, simply draw the letter “C” on the table, and the coffee maker will begin brewing it.

I love the smell of freshly-brewed coffee.

Welle’s unique embedded sonar technology and highly sensitive touchless gesture control algorithms, and provide superior tracking of hand gestures and handwriting.

I learned this same technology is also used in drones, automobiles, and some military applications.

The electronic components and digital logic used by Welle are inside a small, black and yellow rectangular box measuring nearly 3-inches by 1.38-inches, and weighing only 3.5 ounces.

Welle is small enough to bring with you to hotels, coffee shops, or to work for guiding your audience through those important PowerPoint presentations.

Welle is used by placing it on any flat surface and establishing a Bluetooth connection to the device you wish to control.

It uses sensing techniques which transmits signal pulses, collects the reflective energy from our fingers, and logically translates the user’s hand movements into the specified action desired.

“Human hands are one of nature’s most perfect creations. They are highly sensitive and can manipulate objects with fine dexterity. The iPhone ushered in the era of touch control, but its under-glass technology diminishes the hand’s tactile feel, limiting the ability to control devices with a high degree of sensitivity,” said Mark Zeng, CEO of Welle.

Advanced ultrasonic signaling technology, hardware design, and software algorithms used inside the Welle device transmit signal pulses, and collect and recognizes, the reflected energy by the user’s hand motions, gestures, and finger swipes within the range of the Welle device’s sonar echoed signals.

Maxus Tech, the company which created Welle, employs scientists, physicists, mathematicians, and engineers who develop human-computer interaction power sensing equipment. The company was founded in 2014, in Shenzhen, China.

Software and hardware developers can use the Welle open API (Application Programming Interface) for redefining hand gestures and creating new command actions for controlling devices and apps.

Both Android and iOS users are able to use Welle apps.

Adding computing design tools like Photoshop and CAD to interface with the Welle, along with interpreting hand gestures mimicking the use of a physical trackpad and mouse, are being considered by Welle.

Public availability of the Welle device is scheduled for October 2017, at a price of $99.

While reading through the comments on the Welle Kickstarter webpage, I found many favorable reviews, and a lot of interest in this product.

Their original Kickstarter fundraising goal was $20,000; which was achieved on the first day.

As of last Thursday, $43,468 has been pledged for the Welle project by 447 supporters.

Learn more about Welle, and view some demonstration videos by visiting the Kickstarter homepage: http://getwelle.com.

Just think; with a simple hand gesture, you could be following my daily Twitter messages at: @bitsandbytes.

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