2D versus 3D
Other prototype gestural interfaces have used reflective or colored ribbons glued on tip toes or even gloves.
“But this information is 2D. You’re only using your fingertips and not even know that tape corresponds to which finger,” complains Robert Wang, creator of the new interface and more blatant.
The colored glove allows the generation of a 3D model of the hand on the computer screen, almost in real time, with a minimal lag. “This [equipment] in fact capture the 3D configuration of your hand and your fingertips. We know how his fingers are moving,” says Wang.
We tested several designs of glove with colored dots and “patches” of various formats. The current version, which showed the best results so far, 20 have irregular shapes, using 10 different colors.
The number of colors is restricted because the system must be able to recognize each with reliability in various lighting conditions and with different objects in the background of the scene.
Fun and serious use
The vocation of the new gesture interface technology are videogames. Virtual worlds, for example, allow the user to grab and manipulate objects using only hand gestures.
But Wang says that engineers and designers can also use the system to more intuitively manipulate 3D models of commercial products, mechanical equipment or major construction works – see the demonstration video below.
The software for recognition of images was based on another survey of MIT, when Antonio Torralba and his colleagues developed an algorithm that recognizes images by reducing its resolution .
After the capture webcam image, the software removes the background, leaving the glove superimposed on a white background. Then the program drastically reduces the image resolution due to reach 40 by 40 pixels.
Finally, it compares the captured image with a database containing hundreds of digital models of 40 x 40 pixels until you find one that matches the current position.
This mechanism, which eliminates the need for calculations, returns an answer in a split second, virtually eliminating delays in the use of the glove.