In the 2002 film Minority Report, Tom Cruise effortlessly interacts with a computer in the year 2054 through a futuristic gesture interface. In a series of a hand motions he is able to manipulate a vast array of content at rapid speed. Such a futuristic interface is reported to have inspired the gesture based controls of modern multi-touch devices. With Microsoft’s help though, an interface like that in the film could be coming to a home like yours in the coming years.
While the previous iterations of Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral were rather rudimentary, and were only able to detect larger hand movements, a new research project has found a way to massive improve this tech. Lead by Microsoft Research, a team has created a program which they call ‘Handpose’.
This technology allows for incredibly accurate tracking of hand and figure motions, through the use of a standard Kinect peripheral. The IR tracking on this device has been hacked to enable easy tracking at both close and far distances, as well as during periods where the camera is in motion. Furthermore, framerate slowdown and low lighting does not affect the accuracy of the device.
While the device has some gaming applications, it would probably be much more useful for productivity applications. Video and image manipulation could be made vastly more simple through a well thought out implementation of this technology. In addition, this sort of technology could be used to bridge the gap between touch enabled tablet and smartphone devices, and larger screened desktop computers.