Minority Report totally called this one. But also Iron Man…and a bunch of other sci-fi movies set in what is now the near future.
This week in gadgets making the leap from sci-fi to consumer reality: BIRD.
Not the most compelling name of all time. It isn’t catchy, doesn’t give you half a clue what the product is, and a quick Google search would never return anything remotely relevant (good luck ranking for the term ‘BIRD’).
So if you’ve assumed BIRD is some kind of drone, I don’t blame you; I did too. But it’s so not that at all.
What BIRD is, is a wearable that slides onto your forefinger and can be coupled with a TV or projector to effectively convert any space into a large interactive surface. The 20-gram device adds gesture-based input over a distance of 300 inches to any screen streamed from an Android or iOS phone. It is also compatible with Windows and Mac computers.
BIRD isn’t just a replacement to a projector remote, though. A number of sensors have been fitted onto its minuscule body to make more advanced functionality possible. For example, there’s a microphone on board to accept voice commands. There’s also a capacitive surface which registers taps and swipes.
The wearable streams data from its sensors to a base unit, which processes the information and proceeds to issue commands over a Bluetooth connection. Accompanying the hardware is a partner app with plugins to facilitate communication between the BIRD and essentially anything with compliant software specifications.
There are a few use cases MUV Interactive envisions for its creation. The most obvious application is in giving immersive presentations, wherein presenters can interact with 3D models using the device. But things get way cooler when you realize it can be used to control anything that is compatible with your smartphone or computer.
A lot of smart home appliances can be manipulated using an Android or iOS phone. According to the MUV Interactive website, any Internet of Things (IoT) gadget running compliant software can be controlled using BIRD. It isn’t clear yet if the company plans on opening the platform out to developers to allow for more seamless integration with different hardware types.
Also on the list of things that fall under the purview of BIRD’s abilities: drones. There are a few manufacturers in the market for consumer drones, and some that can be controlled using a smartphone. Below is a video of BIRD being used to fly a drone.
The ease with which this can be done in the real world remains to be seen.
Though poorly named, BIRD is a significant entrant to the fledgling world of wearables. Presently, gesture-control is primarily associated with gaming consoles like the Microsoft Kinect and Nintendo Wii. BIRD is among the first few devices to use such forms of input in applications other than games.
More importantly, BIRD is a piece of hardware that could serve to unite the various disassociated components of our connected homes. In the future, consumers are either going to be limited to one platform like Android, iOS, or Windows, or put up switching between those platforms to interact with various smart home devices. With BIRD, it would be possible to own appliances across manufacturers and platforms and interact with them without having to unlock a phone or boot a computer.
As of this week, BIRD by MUV Interactive is available to the public and retails at $249. That includes the cost of the base unit, a cradle that also acts as a portable charger, and apps for installation to your smartphone or computer. The first 10,000 units are being made available at an introductory price of $149 on their website.
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Amanda Mills says
The fact that we are talking about a product that is compatible with mobile as well as Windows AND Mac is pretty sweet. That does not come around that often and is going to be the main reason it does fairly well. You have to touch all operating systems in order to get your audience as wide as possible.
Ann Porter says
This is only the beginning of stuff like this. So much tech is out there and ready to be used for purposes like this that companies can barely keep tabs on all of it. The product that wins is the one that will be widely used and then talked about constantly on social media, you watch!
Rodrick Morrison says
It’s nice that you can see it in action. The video does the product justice all the way around.
Olga Ellis says
pretty cool. since everyone is using laser pointers for meetings like this already, this would be the next best thing, right?
Guy Jurado says
Hmmm, I have a drone and I am not sure that I would want this thing flying it around. I would have to see it in use before I commit to using it myself.
sculture artigianali says
Very good blog you have here but I was curious if you knew of any
discussion boards that cover the same topics discussed
here? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get
suggestions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
Thanks a lot!
Gary Riggio says
Very cool. I can see meetings at my employer already becoming more entertaining. That price point is very low if all of the features work properly and there is limit setup for the device.