Ever wondered how game designers or inventors conceptualize their designs spending a large part of their time and effort. Certainly not by going to the drawing board and redesigning after ever new iteration or changes. Welcome with the Gesture Recognition Technology. Gesturing with your hands or face and capturing those movements through highly sensitive sensors, HD cameras or other input devices to control applications are the basic premise of this technology.
Gesture recognition is the technology that allows users to access and control any of their smart devices by using their gestures and body movements. It is a combination of software and hardware that captures movements and converts it into a data stream, which can be used for various purposes.
From a layman’s perspective, the technology involves the user accessing the device interface through hand gestures. For example, the user wants to navigate to a particular application or control the TV. They use any of the input devices such as a standard web camera, tactile sensors or depth aware cameras, wired gloves or even gesture-based controllers which are used to capture the hand gestures and processed by the gesture recognition system.
Specific gesture recognition algorithms are used by the systems to match with the existing database or the taught images/gestures and this information is updated in the system. It is relayed back to the user interface and the corresponding action is performed.
The main drawback of the gesture recognition technology is the dependency on light conditions. The reason being, the gesture control depends heavily on the cameras that are used to capture the 2D or 3D gesture images. This information can be interpreted in various ways depending on the light source. Thus, limiting its accurate functioning.
Types of gesture technologies
Invented during the 70s, the wired gloves had sensors that captured hand movements. Using the tactile gestures of the hand and fingers they measure the bending of the joints. But, the whole purpose of using it for commercial applications was lost as it involved making the users wear the large and cumbersome gloves. Thus, limiting their applications for research purposes only.
Vision controlled gesture devices
The next evolution of the gesture technology involved capturing the gestures using cameras. This requires high precision and processing power compared to the wired gloves. Depth aware cameras, stereo cameras, 3D or single cameras are used to capture the gestures which can be processed by the gesture recognition systems.
Here are some practical applications of using gesture technology
Touchless Natural User Interface allows users to indulge in an immersive experience without actually having any physical contact with the devices. Along with AR/VR in game control, there are many more applications of the touchless user interfaces.
Rather than just providing predefined images, retailers allow customers to interact with gesture enabled digital content thus enriching their shopping experience.
This is the most common application of the gesture technology. It allows control of the digital content in areas or fields where practical navigation is not possible. Users can discover more about the products by dismantling, breaking down its structure and even reassembling them back. Medical, logistics, IT, telecom, automotive and many more industry verticals use this technology.
Internet of things, Wi-Fi and gesture recognition systems are the foundation for smart homes. Wouldn’t it be great to control your home lighting, TV, electronic devices just by waving your hands, kicking or punching? The technology is already available for use, but it’s not cheap. But with widespread acceptance, expect the prices to come down.
While these are the commonly used application of the gesture technology, many more are yet to be discovered. This technology is breaking the barrier existing between the physical and the virtual world to provide an immersive experience for all. Only the future can tell as technology advancements take it to new frontiers.
– Shantha Kumari,
Sr. Technical Writer,