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Smile to Pick Up Phone, Blink to Hang-Up

Israel's Umoove lets users control phones, tablets and televisions with facial movements
By: Alexandra Mann
Published: May 30th, 2012 in Business » Israel
Umoove will allow users to answer the phone by smiling

In the span of a few years, we have grown accustomed to touching, tapping and sliding our fingers on our computer and mobile screens, rather than hitting a keyboard. Soon it seems, it will be hard to remember the time before body gesture-based functions.

Already, technologies like the Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wii are getting us accustomed to it. Israeli startup Umoove hopes to hop on the bandwagon by adapting gesture-recognition for mobile devices.

Umoove offers a Kinect-like module for mobile phones that focuses on gentle facial and head movements.

The startup developed a unique algorithm it says can detect facial and eye movements in real time and uses them to control and steer applications, games and media. This is done through the device’s front-end camera, available on most smartphones. With a smile, a wink or a stare it is now possible to open applications, control and use them.

The product can be implemented in games or applications that include reading, for example, when looking down scrolls the screen and reveals a new passage. Another potential option is answering calls while driving without taking hands off the wheel.

Umoove’s CEO Moti Krispill told Israeli website Newsgeek that the company hopes to revolutionize the mobile world like Kinect did with the gaming world. In a more intimate way using subtle face and eye movements, the user will launch the app and become an active part of it, he says.

The technology can run on TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones and is available to third-party developers and partners. Currently Umoove is testing its technology on iOS platforms and is optimizing it for Android platforms.

Umoove is cooperating with Microsoft for the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. The company participated in Microsoft’s ThinkNext2012 conference this April and is based in Israel.

This article is reprinted with permission from NoCamels.

Related articles: Umoove, Kinect, Microsoft, Israel, iOS, Android, Israel
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