We’ve seen fingerprint sensors on phones and tablets, and haptic force-feedback technology on prototype devices on our travels, but Microsoft has come up with something quite different. And it could change the way you search online forever.
Utilising a form of palm vein recognition technology, which Pocket-lint first encountered almost three years ago, crossed with Microsoft Bing’s intelligence platform, the new tech can predict what you want to find online through electrical pulses transmitted through your hand print. You can effectively search by just thinking of the subject you wish to find.
Microsoft Research invited Pocket-lint to its lab to try out the system, which works on any tablet or touchscreen computer monitor, and we were amazed by the results.
You simply place your hand on the screen after visiting www.bing.com and the Palm Search software kicks in. It reads the pulses through certain parts of your hand, so while you think about what you want Bing to find, it calculates the search term you were looking for.
It’s early days for Bing’s Palm Search tech, so it’s not always 100 per cent accurate. We were thinking of Liverpool footballing legend Kenny Dalglish and it came up with former radio DJ Kenny Everett instead, but it was spot on when we were looking for details on the Microsoft Band. And it suggested the right Wikipedia site listing for train robber Bruce Reynolds when we were thinking of the Great Train Robbery generally.
This will improve in time as more subjects use their palms to search. Algorithms will get better as they receive more real-world data. And we found it to be easily as quick as using vocal commands through something like Cortana or, on the Xbox One, Kinect.
As Dave Coplin, Microsoft UK’s chief envisioning officer told us, Bing Palm Search is the “logical next step”.
He also explained partly how it works: “As humans we all naturally think in full sentences utilising our native language, so our brains are constantly firing electrical signals similar to those which control when and how we speak,” he said.
“By capturing these signals at the split second they reach the hand and converting them into their linguistic equivalent, the technology enables us to deliver Bing search results in a whole new way – exactly when and where our users need them.”
Bing’s Palm Search works across all tablets and touchscreen PCs, not just Microsoft devices, so you can try it for yourself. Naturally, a smartphone screen is too small to read an entire palm, so Microsoft is still developing an alternative method for mobile handsets.
UPDATE: Well done to all those who accurately guessed that this was Pocket-lint’s April Fools’ Day joke for 2015. And sorry for those who actually found themselves touching their tablet or PC monitor on Bing.com.
The best gags often come with some basis on fact, and palm vein reader technology actually exists – we have seen it before. However, that doesn’t work simply by placing your hand on a normal touchscreen.
Massive thanks must go to the Bing team who put this together for our exclusive. And if you want to see more of the April Fools’ Day 2015 pranks from around the ‘net, you should check out our constantly updated feature.
READ: April Fools’ Day 2015: The best stories from around the web