Perceptual user interfaces — comprising gesture, facial and voice recognition — live at the bleeding edge of technology and could eventually upend graphical user interfaces, or GUIs, as the dominant platform for human-computer interaction.
Core to the Foundation’s mission of inspiring and empowering intellectually gifted people, the Copper Black award was created specifically to recognize the outstanding creative achievement of those who endeavor to develop novel solutions to complex problems.
We caught up with the Foundation's 2016 International Copper Black award winner, Kevin Dewald, recognized for his work in gesture recognition — the mathematical interpretation of human motion by a computing device — to discuss the technology’s practical and commercial applications and his thoughts on the Foundation's recognition.
How long have you been a member of Mensa Argentina?
I've been a member of Mensa Argentina since October 2010. For the last two years I have also volunteered as the Secretary of Mensa Argentina, where I've enjoyed the privilege of having a closer contact with members from all around the country.
Why did you decide to join Mensa?
I reached out to Mensa looking for answers about myself. My youth had some of the clichés you usually hear from many Mensans regarding good grades and difficulties with social integration during high school, which were overcome once I went to university, but the question, “Why?” was still present. During that time was when I first heard about Mensa and decided to take the exam and see what would happen, which a long way down the road got me to this moment.
…just imagine if they did, the basic notion of a physical remote control left outdated by a snap of our fingers or the wave of an arm. The possibilities that arise are endless.
What's the next step for this technology that you have developed?
Gesture recognition based on measuring body signals is still on a very early phase. There's still a lot of effort to be placed on machine learning algorithms to accurately understand what the user is implying with any combination of movements. The challenge is huge, but I think so are the rewards.
How would you like to see your technology implemented? What would be the ultimate application of this technology?
I would love to see wearables with gesture recognition capabilities as ubiquitous as smartphones are today. Our hands play an important role in expressing our feelings and desires, and all that information cannot be understood by our devices. But just imagine if they did, the basic notion of a physical remote control left outdated by a snap of our fingers or the wave of an arm. The possibilities that arise are endless.
Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you meet this goal?
I would like to thank my friends and teammates, Clementina, Dario and Juan, with whom I've worked for many years following this dream. The award has been a very motivating recognition of my effort, and I plan to keep pushing the limits of technology every day a little further.