Gesture control interfaces

People are always looking for new ways to interact with computers, and one thing we get asked for time and time again is…. “Can we make a screen that looks like Minority Report?” The answer of course is “Yes, but…”. The condition being that in the movie, everything you see was created in post-production, so it’s easier to make something that’s seamless and responsive when the CGI team can already see what actions the user is performing.

What they are actually asking for are known as Gesture Control Interfaces. It’s completely possible to approximate this however with a number of different technologies. Microsoft’s Kinect is a great tool for tracking bodies and hands in three dimensions with incredible accuracy – but needs a controlled environment and line of sight that’s not easy to a create in a studio. Leap Motion is brilliant at tracking hands and finger positions – but only in a small space. Computer vision can be incredibly sophisticated – but can also be quite error prone. This is where industrial laser tracking devices such as RadarTouch or Hummingbird come in.

Designed primarily for use as proximity sensors in high-risk industrial environments, such as shutting down machinery if a break in the field is detected, we can also use the capabilities of this device to detect a hand or finger, or up to 10 of them, breaking a field in front of a real or virtual screen.

Take a look at our short demo. It’s based around the idea of viewing a case file for a criminal investigation, where the user might need to see maps, CCTV footage, evidence pictures and photos of stolen items and also allows us to show a Skype TX call, possibly to an incident room, as part of the same visualisation. Ideally, this would be used against a giant 70″ screen, or possibly a rear-projected perspex screen with a light refracting coating from a supplier such as 3M to enable the screen to appear invisible until the projector lamps were on.

 
 

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