German boffins demo Minority Report-like system

3D gesture-based system unveiled

Scientists at Fraunhofer FIT have demonstrated a non-contact gesture and finger recognition system that doesn’t require gloves or markers. 

The innovative system detects hand and finger positions and translates these into appropriate interaction commands in real-time, reminiscent of the 3D interface used by Tom Cruise in the science fiction film Minority Report. 

"A special image analysis algorithm was developed which filters out the positions of the hands and fingers. This is achieved in real-time through the use of intelligent filtering of the incoming data. The raw data can be viewed as a kind of 3D mountain landscape, with the peak regions representing the hands or fingers," said Georg Hackenberg, who developed the system as part of his Master’s thesis.

"With Microsoft announcing Project Natal, it is likely that similar techniques will very soon become standard across the gaming industry. This technology also opens up the potential for new solutions in the range of other application domains, such as the exploration of complex simulation data and for new forms of learning," predicted Professor Wolfgang Broll of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT. In addition plausibility criteria are used, these are based around: the size of a hand, finger length and the potential coordinates.

A user study was conducted and found that the system both easy to use and fun, said the research institute. However, work remains to be done on removing elements which confuses the system, for example reflections caused by wristwatches and palms which are visible to the camera.

Picture credit: Fraunhofer.

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