LEDs are mounted on a plastic wrist strap which face the palm and use infrared light to accurately model the user's fingers, and thereby track their movement to discern what gestures they're making.
It would allow any gesture to be communicated in real-time to any device and not be as 'limited' as Kinect's approach to motion input. They seek to replace mouse and keyboard.
A model of the user's hand is built that's "accurate to within one hundredth of a centimetre," reports New Scientist. The project came from wanting a more accurate than Kinect motion-sensing that wouldn't be tied down to anyone device. "We had to use technologies that are small and use less power," said Digits project leader David Kim. "It shouldn't interfere with daily activity, and we wanted to enable continuous interaction."
The current prototype is described as being the size of "two ping pong balls taped together," and they are tethered to a laptop which interpretes the data. Kim and his team fully intend to have it shrunk down to the size of a wrist watch with wireless communication. It was recently shown controlling video games, smartphones and PCs.
Interfaces like Digits coupled with wearable computing represents "a symbiosis of man and machine that we haven't seen before", added Thad Starner, technical lead on Google's Project Glass.
"Having access to data on a split-second basis makes you more powerful, more in control of your life. This is going to get us to the stage where we use systems without thinking."