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Input Devices Technology

German Researchers Show Off a Gesture-Based Interface 69

smitty777 writes "The folks at the Potsdam University have developed a user interface based completely on hand gestures. A small(ish) device worn around the neck is used to track the hand position, allowing the user to draw, type, or gesture in the air. You think it looks ridiculous when you can't tell that folks are talking on a cell phone? Imagine a bus full of people gesturing in thin air. Also, don't forget to turn this thing off, or it will look like your cat was walking on your keyboard." Update: 06/11 00:54 GMT by T : This informative comment (kudos!) adds links to a video demonstration and the researcher's own site.
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German Researchers Show Off a Gesture-Based Interface

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  • First post (Score:2, Interesting)

    I'm guessing it would have the problems of the Palm OS graffiti alphabet only cubed.
    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      What would those problems be? I found graffiti to be fairly efficient, and much faster than texting with a keyboardless phone.

  • by mindbrane ( 1548037 ) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @07:58PM (#32530244) Journal

    German Researchers Show Off a Gesture-Based Interface

    Shurley you jest sir, this could only have been invented by the Italians. OTOH this would be the equivalent of a mute button for the Brits.

  • Not good!!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2010 @07:59PM (#32530262)

    Remember the last time Germans started waving their hands around?

    • I've been giving Windows the Finger for a long time; now when it blue screens It might just reboot :D
      • It's been watching you through your webcam.

        It interprets your gesture as accepting that it has permission to delete and/or corrupt as many files as it wishes before returning control of the computer back to you.

    • by prefec2 ( 875483 )

      Last time was the soccer world championship I guess. But I think you are referring to those Nazi idiots. However, as far as I understand that interface, it is helpful to use two. So Nazis won't be able to use it as one arm is always up in the sky. On the other hand it could be seen as a special gesture to blow up the computer.

  • by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @08:01PM (#32530268)
    Here's a much better one. There's even a video of the project in action. []

    To be honest, it doesn't look like much if you're already familiar with work in the field, but it's probably still worth a quick watch.
  • Design a "hands free" for a mobile with this interface...
    The problem having a small interface to interact with the touch-screen of a mobile is real... but I fail to see how this is actually a solution.
    • This isn't to use for a mobile phone while driving. This is an interface for a wearable computer (which may also be a phone) when you need to give it visual input. Apparently you'd also still have a Bluetooth headset and voice dialing if it's a phone. With this you wouldn't have to dig out the phone and the stylus* and be limited to such a small input area.

      * If you say a finger is better than a stylus, then you're clearly not considering visual input. Multi-touch is great and all, but draw a coherent pictur

      • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

        This isn't to use for a mobile phone while driving.[etc]

        I imagined that. Would one be able to stop Jane/Joe Average using it this way and keep their hands on the wheel?

        This is an interface for a wearable computer (which may also be a phone) when you need to give it visual input.

        Somehow make sense in a mobile device not primarily used as a phone while you are "imaginary interfacing". Don't take me wrong, I'm not dismissive on the idea (on the contrary), but I fail to see a remarkable impact of the applications as proposed by the TFA.

        Without a visual feedback on what you are drawing and the time persistence of what you are drawing I really doubt that one would be able to

        • I don't think it's a computer's or a phone's job to keep a driver's hands on the wheel any more than a coffee cup's or a burrito's. Enabling someone to use the device without removing hands from the wheel is one thing, but you can't make them keep their hands on the wheel.

          I think for back-of-envelope type things without the envelope, this is a great idea. Sign language translation is a big boon, of course, if they can get that done.

          I don't actually see this replacing a notepad or a PDA, but I do think it ha

          • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

            I don't think it's a computer's or a phone's job to keep a driver's hands on the wheel any more than a coffee cup's or a burrito's.

            I reckon my initial "challenge" was just a reaction to what seemed to me as an unnatural field of applications suggested by TFA.
            The augmented reality glasses thrown in the combination does make lot of sense.

      • by c0lo ( 1497653 )

        This is an interface for a wearable computer (which may also be a phone) when you need to give it visual input.

        Now, give computer visual input sounds better.
        I imagine that the "pilots" of MQ-9 reapers [] can now "go mobile" and do their job using an iPhone.

  • Gorilla arm.
    • by Lotana ( 842533 )

      Precisely. I want to see these researchers use this interface non-stop for more than 30 minutes. Gorilla arm is the reason why I believe that any gesture-based interface research will never produce anything actually feasible.

      • Feasible? No. Satisfying? Possibly. I know I might be tempted to pay for a device that performs a designated action when it detects me flipping off the screen.

      • by Kenoli ( 934612 )
        There's nothing inherently wrong with a gesture-based interface.
        Quickly drawing simple shapes for whatever reason is not something you're going to be doing for 30 minutes at a time.
        Suggesting that someone do that is pretty silly. You might as well complain about buttons on the front of microwaves. Using those for hours at a time always makes my arms sore.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Hognoxious ( 631665 )

          Quickly drawing simple shapes for whatever reason is not something you're going to be doing for 30 minutes at a time.

          It's not something any sane person does at all.

          Very cute, solution looking for a problem. Talking of problems, how about this? []

      • by c0lo ( 1497653 )
        Nokia's concept of Gorilla arm []
        (needs sunscreen)
    • Not necessarily. Many mudra for example are made with hand movements only.

  • by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @08:16PM (#32530406)
    I am envisioning a future of urbanites wandering aimlessly as they frantically mash a virtual piano, while in reality they are 3-finger-saluting the air because they can't access their FarceBook or Twatter. Bring on the Windows Mobile Revolution(TM) !
  • Original sources (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2010 @08:20PM (#32530446)

    Original paper with video []

    Research author page [],
    project papers [], and published papers [].

    Institute home page []


  • Google Translate (Score:4, Interesting)

    by by (1706743) ( 1706744 ) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @08:39PM (#32530618)
    Will finally be able to translate from ASL! []

    Yeah, yeah, you're probably thinking, "you insensitive clod, I'm from _____." Or making up some clever joke about age/sex/location...
    • by Jerry ( 6400 )

      Interesting? Yes!

      But, where is the source code he promised to Open Source and release?

  • .....I can make cell phone calls with interpretive dance.
  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@[ ... m ['bar' in gap]> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @08:58PM (#32530726) Journal

    Lawyers just love this sort of thing.

    Someone makes a gesture saying "shove it" (flipping the bird, one-finger salute, whatever) and the cop standing in front of them tazes them.

    "There was no warning label saying that gesturing could offend bystanders. I want $5 million."

    [_] I have no hands, you insensitive clod!
    [_] I have no hands because I wanted to see if it would blend, you insensitive clod!
    [_] In Soviet Russia, gestures track YOU!
    [_] You can have my gesture device when you pry it from my ... heck, it'll signal I'm dead - the gesture for that is my hands not moving for 24 hours.
    [_] It's worn around the neck - if I get the hiccups, what happens? Will I accidentally download porn or something?
    [_] Call me when I can attach this to my dog's collar so it can communicate more than "walk me", "feed me", and "rub my belly".

  • ...or did Bezos already patent this?
  • I wonder if I can draw a perfect circle with this. Using a mouse, mine always looks like a cragged boulder.
    • You have to nail the mouse's tail down , stretch the mouse tight then move it in a circle. If you have a wireless mouse you'll have to glue a piece of string to it.
  • Didn't they have this with Slartibartfast and the Planet Krikkit videos about 30 years ago?
  • This sure looks like the gimzo that Pranav Mistry developed at MIT. Here's a link to the demo of same at TED, last year: []
  • Come on, all these posts and no reference to Minority Report? For shame.
  • My cat is walkign on m,y keyboard, you insesnitive clod..
  • It would seem like a bad idea at the conceptual stage since this idea violates one of the most fundamental HCI principles of providing the user with feedback, but reading the "article" it seems like what these researchers are looking at is how the use of gestures can be projected to aid in remote communication between individuals (rather than this actually being a full interface this point). Great, now we can look forward to people using their talking loudly on their mobiles phones AND gesti

  • The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years, radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then, as the technology became more sophisticated, the controls were made touch sensitive ... now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure of course, but meant you had to stay infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme.

    D. Adams, The hitch-hikers guide to the galax

  • Italians will *love* this interface!
  • Combining something like this with a set of augmented reality goggles and a wifi chip (if we ever get ubiquitous broadband) could make for some really fun lunch breaks and such. Just imagine logging into a 3D shooter game with your goggles in such a way that everyone else logged into the game got marked (through augmented reality) with some sort of indicator (virtual costume or something). Then, using your new hand gesture control system, you could run around and, 'shoot,' at each other with a gesture of yo
  • I thought Pranav Mistry already did something like this with his SixthSense technology? [] []
  • Interesting. It kinda replicates the 2004 PhD thesis of Mathias Kolsch [] when he was at UCSB (now at the Moves Institute, NPS). Mathias's work is known as HandVu []. The source code for HandVu is available on that web site, along with videos.

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