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German Researchers Show Off a Gesture-Based Interface

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the amazon-patent-trolls-crouch-and-drool dept.

Input Devices 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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Watch out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32530210)

Oooh they are so going to get sued by Apple. This infringes on their, putting a finger near a capacitive touchscreen patent.

First post (2, Interesting)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530234)

I'm guessing it would have the problems of the Palm OS graffiti alphabet only cubed.

Re:First post (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32535192)

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

German Researchers? (4, Funny)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530244)

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.

Re:German Researchers? (1)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530314)

Perfect! We can market this as the perfect gift for anyone with a British relative.

No. The Italian's one is *rude* gesture based. (3, Funny)

RexDevious (321791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530372)

Unfortunately, every time they've tried to demo it, a fight breaks out.

Re:No. The Italian's one is *rude* gesture based. (3, Funny)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530898)

Italian gesture-based interfaces would be fraught with problems.

Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson: I do bite my thumb, sir.
Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson (to Gregory): Is the law of our side if I say ay?
Gregory: No.
Sampson: No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you sir; but I bite my thumb, sir.
Gregory: Do you quarrel, sir?
Abraham: Quarrel, sir? No, sir.

Re:German Researchers? (1)

Deathnerd (1734374) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530728)

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.

I never jest... and don't call me Shirley!

Re:German Researchers? (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530756)

German Researchers Show Off a Gesture-Based Interface

Shurley you jest sir, this could only have been invented by the Italians.

Or maybe you mean the French, what with their love of mimes.

Re:German Researchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32535576)

How would this work? Would the display constantly go up and down since the eyeties and the frogs are all wankers.

Re:German Researchers? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531006)

this could only have been invented by the Italians

Whoa! I gotta gesture for ya right over here!

(*raises fist with opposite hand in crook of elbow, in ancient Italian demonstration of deepest respect*)

Not good!!! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32530262)

Remember the last time Germans started waving their hands around?

Re:Not good!!! (1)

networkconsultant (1224452) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531140)

I've been giving Windows the Finger for a long time; now when it blue screens It might just reboot :D

Re:Not good!!! (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32532148)

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.

Re:Not good!!! (1)

prefec2 (875483) | more than 4 years ago | (#32532150)

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.

That's a crappy article. (5, Informative)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530268)

Here's a much better one. There's even a video of the project in action.

http://www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/baudisch/projects/imaginary_interfaces.html [uni-potsdam.de]

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.

Re:That's a crappy article. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32533488)

This.. already i can see a major problem with this device: most people are idiots and lack even a simple imagination.

Making drawings in the air? The most imaginative drawing people can come up with is making love hearts or sticking up that middle finger. (sometimes found hanging out with the index finger)

Until augmented reality lenses / glasses grow up, this probably won't go anywhere sadly...

Re:That's a crappy article. (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32542288)

Well, that would be enough: Love heart for yes, middle finger for no. Gives you one bit. Everything can be made up from bits.

Challenge... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530342)

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.

Re:Challenge... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531168)

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 picture on your 4-inch phone screen with your finger?

Re:Challenge... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531486)

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 achieve notable results. Think:
1. how many times you are sketching something that's good even in a very rough form? (no visual feedback won't let you do more)
2. how many times is that you don't need the rough sketch to last more than 2 mins? (or whatever the "visual memory" persistence is)
Maybe I'm biased by my engineering way of thinking: in it's "pure imaginary" incarnation, this is rather a solution seeking for a problem. In it's non-imaginary form, I imagine there are cheaper and less sophisticated means to achieve it.

Finally, trying hard to find real-life applications also involving smart phones, some /.-ers suggested Sign Language translation. Now, this does make better sense to me.

Re:Challenge... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531618)

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 has promise as a quick interface for when you don't want to get those things out of your pocket. I wonder how they handle rain...

Imagine these gesture interfaces with augmented reality overlay glasses so you do have private visual somewhat persistent feedback without taking your perception out of your surroundings. I think that's a good combination, and better than using data gloves to get it.

Re:Challenge... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531680)

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.

Re:Challenge... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531572)

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 [wikipedia.org] can now "go mobile" and do their job using an iPhone.

Two words (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530366)

Gorilla arm.

Re:Two words (1)

Lotana (842533) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530956)

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.

Re:Two words (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531412)

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.

Re:Two words (1)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531626)

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:Two words (0, Troll)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32532210)

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? [youtube.com]

Re:Two words (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | more than 4 years ago | (#32533612)

Not necessarily. Many mudra for example are made with hand movements only.

3 Finger Salute (3, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#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) !

Re:3 Finger Salute (1)

chromas (1085949) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530492)

and you force close hung applications by giving them the bird

Re:3 Finger Salute (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530708)

Along those lines, 'the shocker' takes on a whole new meaning to power management.

Original sources (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32530446)

Original paper with video [uni-potsdam.de]

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

Institute home page [uni-potsdam.de]

Enjoy!

Re:Original sources (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32530546)

Mod parent up (informative)

Google Translate (4, Interesting)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530618)

Will finally be able to translate from ASL! [wikipedia.org]

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

Re:Google Translate (1)

jbell730 (1586063) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530704)

You insensitive clod, I'm from _____!

Re:Google Translate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32530814)

Five Underscores? Is that in New Jersey?

What, like this? (0)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530628)

That's really interesting, as was this, last year: http://www.ted.com/talks/pranav_mistry_the_thrilling_potential_of_sixthsense_technology.html [ted.com]

Re:What, like this? (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 4 years ago | (#32535570)

Interesting? Yes!

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

Finally.... (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530724)

.....I can make cell phone calls with interpretive dance.

Lawsuits coming ... (3, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530726)

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".

Re:Lawsuits coming ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32534624)

Lawyers just love this sort of thing.

I'm sure patent trolls that hire them will love it too.

Is it just my imagination (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32530762)

...or did Bezos already patent this?

My cat IS walking on my keyboard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32530776)

You insensitive w3esjbmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Yeah right... (0, Redundant)

ducky101 (1005349) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531018)

Anything other than complete functional neural interface is a fad at best, and will never ever be used let alone replace keyboard and mouse or touch interface.

Perfect circle (1)

Decollete (1637235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531118)

I wonder if I can draw a perfect circle with this. Using a mouse, mine always looks like a cragged boulder.

Re:Perfect circle (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32533920)

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.

Prior Art (1)

El_Oscuro (1022477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32531196)

Didn't they have this with Slartibartfast and the Planet Krikkit videos about 30 years ago?

Humm, reminds me of something.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32531396)

http://fringe.davesource.com/Fringe/Entertainment/Books/HitchHikers_Guide_To_The_Galaxy/1.Chapters/Chapter_12

"A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin
      as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wavebands for news of himself.
      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 - you merely had to brush the panels with your
      fingers; 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 that you had to sit infuriatingly
      still if you wanted to keep listening to the same programme..."

Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32531402)

Doesn't "Natal" already do precisely that?

MIT Medialab has dooe it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32531620)

havent they?

I wasn't flipping you the bird! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32532256)

Honestly!

Come on (1)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 4 years ago | (#32532376)

Come on, all these posts and no reference to Minority Report? For shame.

Cat (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32532552)

My cat is walkign on m,y keyboard, you insesnitive clod..

From the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32532838)

and like mimes, people can

No. Any idea that can be described with the line "like mimes" I don't want to have anything to do with.

Feedback? (1)

MrBandersnatch (544818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32533038)

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 technology...at this point). Great, now we can look forward to people using their talking loudly on their mobiles phones AND gesticulating wildly!

Anyways, this is a kind of "post-it note" of gesture technologies and while I dont feel it adds much to the field *practically* (i.e. I'd love to see someone with some good gesture recognition algs that just work) I'd be interesting in seeing some of the evaluation metrics on this since my primary concern would be that people just wouldnt grok it and if they do, I'd suspect that the additional cognitive load would render anything but the most basic interactions (i.e. post-it notes) useless.

Speaking of useless, they have also done some research on projected touch. Anyone else think...."well, why not just use VLC"?

t-shirts (0, Offtopic)

Larafabian (1831318) | more than 4 years ago | (#32533274)

WOW. This is the first article I’ve read since finding this siteand what an article!!! I’m hooked. I think nobody can be brief as like your post! Cheap Online Whole T-shirts

Re:t-shirts (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32533304)

You kinda need a link or some kind of address for your useful and relevant advertising to actually reach the people that need your product. Maybe consider putting one in next time?

Re:t-shirts (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32534802)

As a spam that is an epic fail.

Douglas Adams foresaw the consequences... (1)

thbb (200684) | more than 4 years ago | (#32533434)

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 galaxy. Ch. 12.

BTW, a envisionment of natal in 1993, with datagloves: Charade, remote control of objects using free hand gestures [acm.org] published in Communications of the ACM. (Here for ps version [baudel.name] )

Hand gestures... (1)

SiaFhir (686401) | more than 4 years ago | (#32534548)

Italians will *love* this interface!

Combine with Augmented Reality (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32538754)

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 your hand while it is pointing like a gun. It would be less dangerous than paintball, less painful, and, hopefully, require less gear than typical laser tag. All in all, it could make for some really fun augmented reality real-life games.

HandVu similar, code available (1)

MauiMaker (1802288) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540792)

Interesting. It kinda replicates the 2004 PhD thesis of Mathias Kolsch [movesinstitute.org] when he was at UCSB (now at the Moves Institute, NPS). Mathias's work is known as HandVu [movesinstitute.org] . The source code for HandVu is available on that web site, along with videos.

unforunate side effects (1)

hydrodog (1154181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32540866)

Most gestures seem to result in Poland being overrun....
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