Introducing the glasses that will let you control your phone just by rubbing your nose

Using parts of your body to control your phone might sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but researchers have made it a reality.

A collaboration between St Andrews University, KAIST University in South Korea, Japan’s Keio University and Georgia Tech in the US has led to Itchy Nose, a pair of glasses that essentially turns your nose into a remote control.

Using a series of gestures that includes flicking your nose, pushing it and rubbing it, the glasses can perform a series of tasks like rejecting a phone call, pausing a video or skipping a song.

The team behind the glasses hope they will help lead to more discrete interactions between people and wearable tech in social situations.

The glasses use electrooculography sensors, which are more commonly used by doctors to examine eyes by measuring the electric potential in parts of the organ.

By aiming these sensors at the nose, the glasses can measure the changing electric potential as the wearer rubs, flicks or pushes their conk and detect which gesture is being made.

Gestures for operating Itchy Nose
(Juyoung Lee)

Those gestures are in turn associated with specific actions on your phone – for example, rubbing your nose when your phone rings may send the call through to voicemail.

According to the study’s authors, the glasses, coupled with augmented reality like that used in Google Glass, could help the wearer in a number of social situations.

Lead author Juyoung Lee told The Verge: “If an important text from a spouse came in during a business meeting, the user could check it and dismiss it quickly without calling undue attention to the interaction.

“Similarly, if the user had a list of names and faces to remind her of who is in the meeting, she could scroll through the list until she found the person whose name she forgot.”

The glasses remain a concept design at the moment. Among the issues with the system identified by the team are the number of “false triggers” – where the glasses sense a gesture that has not in face been made.


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