The QB1 Computer: No Mouse, No Keyboard. Just Gestures

It's Magic
It's Magic!

The mouse and keyboard are fast becoming obsolete.  There are quite a few contenders in the ring vying to make it happen.  There’s an onslaught of technology that reads directly from the brain, there are the touch-screen interfaces, and now there’s the Swiss-made Ozwe QB1.  The QB1 is a computer of sorts that allows the user to access it anywhere in a room using only their gestures.  Raise and lower a hand (Christina Aguilera style) to change the volume, rotate a finger clockwise to fast-forward and anti-clockwise to reverse.  There is still no word, however, on when it will be available, how much it costs, and what “flipping the bird” does in the user interface.

The QB1 was made to revolutionize home entertainment.  Kind of like a Segway for the living room (without the failure bit, we hope), the QB1 is bought pre-loaded with the user’s entire compact disc collection as well as high-resolution album artwork.  The user can then use voice commands and gestures to play a song or allow the QB1 to choose a song on its own.  The folks at Ozwe also made sure that the QB1 was capable of recognizing album artwork so, if the user happens to have a mouth full of foie gras or is obsessed with their CD collection, they need only flash the album to the QB1 and it will begin to play.

The QB1 is capable of interacting with anybody in the room because of its unique construction.  The screen itself moves and locks onto the user as they progress through the room, going about their normal activities.  Inventors Frederic Kaplan and Martino d’Esposito say that this allows a user to be free from the stationary and sedentary computer system that has for so long defined how people use their computing technology.  The QB1 is meant to be more than just a computer or a home entertainment system, but an integrated part of the room in which it resides.  Check out the video to see it in action:

The user interface is not only supposed to be revolutionary, but it is also said to be quite intuitive.  The screen displays an image, live or 3-D wire model depending on the user’s preferences, of the user on the screen.  Showing the user where they stand in relation to the options on the screen is meant to bring the user out of the two-dimensional mouse and desktop realm and bring the computer into the three-dimensional world in which the user regularly interacts.  This allows for even greater integration of the system into the household.

Think it’s just a one-trick pony?  As Ron Popeil would say: “but wait, there’s more!”  Yes, the QB1 is not just an integrated music machine; it also allows users to play games.  Take a look at the video to see a game of QB1 tennis.

So, will the QB1 redefine home entertainment?  Perhaps it will, but it is not probable that a novel stereo will affect the entire personal computing experience.  It is the gesture interface that may pave the road to fortune for Ozwe as, if the interface proves to be a great success in the QB1, future models may look to take on more of the personal computing challenges that are still left to the desktop.  That’s all well and good but, here at Singularity Hub, we think the QB1 will have a hard time beating out computer-brain interfaces once they are perfected.

Andrew Kessel
Andrew Kessel
Andrew is a recent graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, MA with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. While at Northeastern, he worked on a Department of Defense project intended to create a product that adsorbs and destroys toxic nerve agents and also worked as part of a consulting firm in the fields of battery technology, corrosion analysis, vehicle rollover analysis, and thermal phenomena. Andrew is currently enrolled in a Juris Doctorate program at Boston College School of Law.
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