Between the popular Kinect camera and the experimental 3D desktop, Microsoft has been hard at work improving virtual navigation in the three-dimensional space. Despite advancements in technology, execution has long relied on stationary or cumbersome equipment to make detection possible. At the 25th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), Microsoft Research will be showcasing a new method of 3D tracking in the form of Digits, a wearable prototype that is able to track hand motions without the inconvenience of bulky hardware.

The Microsoft Research team has taken an infrared laser, camera, and diffuser to create the wrist-worn Digits, which, along with an intertial measurement unit, can detect movement on all axes as well as the wearer's individual fingers. As demonstrated in the video below, Digits can be used to manipulate a computer interface using common gestures like pinch-to-zoom or can be implemented for use in video games. One of Digits' most notable features, however, is its potential to be utilized in situations outside of direct computer interaction, such as the ability to remotely adjust a radio's volume and tuner. As usual, prototypes such as this may never reach the consumer market, but Digits looks to be one of the more practical designs for virtual navigation.