Computer gesture controls: Wave of the future?

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jun 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-02 16:48:02-04

Interacting with your computer has come a long way. First was the keyboard and mouse. Then, the touch screen. And now, touch screens you don’t touch! Consumer Reports checked out the HP Envy, a gesture-controlled computer with an infrared sensor built in. The Envy uses Leap Motion technology, which senses your hand motions to control the screen.

One game lets you tilt your hands over the Leap Motion sensor to move sea creatures. Another lets you shoot at bottles with a flick of your fingers. Some of the gesture-controlled programs come already loaded. In the Airspace store, you can download more than an additional 200. And if you want to use gesture-control with programs you already have, there are apps that let you use Leap Motion to scroll through pages or click buttons.

But Consumer Reports says there are problems. You have to master different gestures for each program, so there’s a lot to learn. Another issue: You can’t let your hand stray too far from the Leap Motion sensor, or it won’t work. And shoulders and wrists can get achy. Consumer Reports says gesture control may be the “wave” of the future. But for now, it’s easier just to tap and type.

If you’re looking for a new laptop, Consumer Reports has named a number of Best Buys. Three to consider:
 Acer’s Aspire S7-191-6447 Ultrabook with an 11-inch screen.
 Asus’s Zenbook UX302LA-BHI5T08 thin-and-light laptop with a 13-inch screen.
 HP’s Split 13-g210dx x2 Convertible Ultrabook with a screen that detaches and becomes a fully functional Windows tablet.