Gesture Recognition Technology

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Will GestureRecognition Technology Point the Way?
David Geer

existing peripherals can’t already achieve, or users won’t see the point in spending the time and money on the technology,” said Jackie Fenn, a Fellow in emerging trends and technologies for Gartner, a market research firm.

In the early 1960s, users could move a light-emitting pen to control the Sketchpad computer-aided design system. Several subsequent commercial systems also worked with light-emitting pens. Research into camera-based computer vision for gesture recognition began in earnest in the early 1990s at places such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, Japan’s Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, and the University of Zürich. Since then, a few companies have sold gesture-recognition software. Until now, though, the technology hasn’t had a significant commercial impact.


hen playing most video games, speed is of the essence. Manipulating a joy stick, mouse, or other input device slows a player’s reaction time. Players would prefer to control game activities by movements or gestures. Physically disabled users, who frequently have trouble providing the strength or precision necessary to use traditional computer input devices, would also benefit from being able to control devices and enter information via eye blinks, head motions, or other gestures. For these and other reasons, considerable research has gone into computer-related gesture-recognition technology. Now, this research is bearing fruit as the technology increasingly appears in commercial products such as Canesta’s Virtual Keyboard for PDAs; iMatte’s iSkia projector-based presentation technology; and Cybernet System’s GestureStorm for weather reporting, NaviGaze head- and eyemovement-based cursor and mouse interface technology, and UseYourHead game controller. Gesture-recognition systems identify human gestures and use them to convey...
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