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Giving Your Computer Interface the Finger

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the let-your-fingers-do-the-computing dept.

Microsoft 63

moon_unit2 writes "Tech Review has a story about a startup that's developed software capable of tracking not just hand movements but precise finger gestures. The setupm from 3Gear, requires two depth-sensing cameras (aka Kinects) at the top corners of your display. Then simply give your computer thumbs up — or whatever other gesture you might feel like — and it'll know what you're doing. The software is available for free while the product is in beta testing, if you want to give it a try."

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63 comments

Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (4, Funny)

schwep (173358) | about 2 years ago | (#41544671)

Now that the computer overloards can measure how messy my desk is I better make the place look respectible!

Does this mean I need to dress up to use my computer now?

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (4, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#41544739)

Now that the computer overloards can measure how messy my desk is I better make the place look respectible!

Does this mean I need to dress up to use my computer now?

Pants are optional, but recommended for you.

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (3, Funny)

Soft Cosmic Rusk (1211950) | about 2 years ago | (#41544785)

Yeah, it might interpret it as a "thumbs up"... Come to think of it, that interpretation would probably be correct anyway.

Geeks can do better! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545711)

I know nobody cares, but people here should care because we are smart and can get things right.

Kinects are not the only depth-sensing cameras in the market, and therefore the phrase "aka Kinects" is incorrect. You should instead say "e.g. Kinects."

Since nobody is going to read this anyway I won't bother to explain why. But if you don't want to appear stupid before those who actually understand English semantics, look it up.

Re:Geeks can do better! (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | about 2 years ago | (#41546043)

Probably meant "a la" (sorry, my keyboard doesn't have the proper accents for French) which mean like or similar to.

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | about 2 years ago | (#41545979)

Pants are optional, but recommended for you.

Well, I kinda have to. I keep stepping on it.

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41546817)

Pants are optional, but recommended for you.

Well, I kinda have to. I keep stepping on it.

Yeah. Haemorrhoids can be a bitch.

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545123)

You're on to something here, Schwepp .. yes requiring to have a camera staring at you to use the computer will enable us not only to look for whatever gestures you are making, we can do a lot of other things. For example we can track your eyeballs and see your pupils tighten in disgust when we place an ad on your screen say for you to eat more soy. That's one thing, there is lots more. Anyhow that's why we want to put a camera into your face and force you to have it on. The day will come when gestures are pretty much your only input option and we already wonder who of you will still sit nude in front of their computers and jack off.

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#41545607)

I thought everyone used their computers nakedly, privately. :P

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#41547109)

I thought everyone used their computers nakedly, privately. :P

Only if you live on your own.

Re:Hmm, I may have to clean my desk... (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#41548377)

Well, you can still do it if you're "Home Alone". too. ;)

ASL translator (5, Insightful)

n8k99 (888757) | about 2 years ago | (#41544685)

This would be really interesting interface if it had a library of American Sign Language gestures and fingerspelling capabilities.

Re:ASL translator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545093)

Interesting idea

Re:ASL translator (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 2 years ago | (#41545515)

Right, so thumbs up is a universal sign, and "the finger" is just as universal? It's not in TFA, just in the submission from moon_unit2 who, it seems, is functionally retarded.

Alternatively, a standardized interface will define how one interacts with the user interface.

I would think that "ASL", being American Sign Language, would be insufficient to handle anything other than the majority of people. The people who don't sign English, or the dialect known as American, may have trouble translating before signing. Maybe they are bisingual, for lack of a better word.

In other words, translating hand gestures to a language is interesting. But it requires a common hand language. It seems "30,000 potential hand and finger configurations" would be a superset of ASL, So I should think it would recognise the ASL subset. Depending on the application.

And that's where it sits, really, the application. One could such an application, and apply ASL to this interface. It might be useful, at least to the deaf community who also understands American English.

For the people (1)

Das Auge (597142) | about 2 years ago | (#41545987)

I know what you mean, it's a shame that keyboard only work for English.

An American company can program it for Americans, and everyone else can program it for themselves.

Re:ASL translator (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#41547735)

Thumbs up is not universal - Try using this in some countries and most people will be very offended

"The finger" is largely unused outside america and not recognised in most of the world

ASL is only used to sign English, in the USA, by the majority of US deaf people, Other languages in the USA have their own sign languages and e.g. BSL (British Sign Language) English signers would seem to be signing a completely foreign language

ASL is largely unused outside North America and so is nowhere universal as English

Re:ASL translator (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | about 2 years ago | (#41546349)

Reading ASL and other countries sign language would require a little bit more work than what has been done so far. It needs facial expressions recognition as well and at least the whole upper body reading. ASL isn't limited to hands and fingers gestures. But, you are right to talk about it. The idea isn't new. The Google glasses would be a better candidate for such a system since it is portable and likely to be ubiquitious in a few years with possibily enough processing power.

Re:ASL translator (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41546823)

Am I the only one who thought "age/sex/location"? Surely you'd need the "11th finger" above the desk for that to work?

Far too much time on IRC in my youth.

Re:ASL translator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41548549)

It would probably be slightly easier and more useful to get the cameras to read lips.

Re:ASL translator (1)

NinjaTekNeeks (817385) | about 2 years ago | (#41550561)

I know nothing about this but am curious. Why would people who are deaf be unable to type as well as anyone else? If I was deaf I'd keep a tablet PC with me at all times in case I encountered someone I had difficulty communicating with so I could just type my message.

Re:ASL translator (1)

n8k99 (888757) | about 2 years ago | (#41554981)

i am not suggesting/asking about this because i believe deaf or the hard of hearing have difficulty typing. it seems to me that if we have speech recognition software, why not have actual gesture/hand-shape based language recognition software. that being said, there are numerous people who are much better communicators verbally than they are as typist, hence the still popular phone call apps on phones. Perhaps, there is a similiar percentage of communicators in ASL, or any other signed language, who are much better at communicating through their first language than through the keyboard interface. Fingerspelling words would at least be something that they are familiar on an fluent level and side step the intrusive typing interface. from what i know of the deaf community, they have embraced technology such as ipads and iphones for exactly the reason you suggest, however these devices are still prohibitively costly for most of that community. yet, despite text messaging being clear and easy communication channels, i still get more Purple phone calls [purple.us] from people in the deaf community than i get text messages.

The fortune tells (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41544707)

With your bare hands?!?

Re:The fortune tells (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#41545753)

It will not work. The lowest energy input, most precise and fastest controller wins in the end - ultimately some mind control. That is why these Kinect alike devices are fad and not mainstay controllers, you need lots of energy to do even simple things with them and it is often not precise, not fast. The old simple press of a button or an analog stick is way more convenient, speedier and comfortable. In this dark age of manual computer control, that we live in, the precise mice and the fast and dependable keyboard is yet to be beaten.

More uses for black electrical tape. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41544711)

I already have the webcam on my work laptop covered. I'll just tear off a couple of more pieces ...

Not sure if this is a good idea (2)

bakdor (1617851) | about 2 years ago | (#41544719)

When I'm viewing porn, the cursor will just be going all over the place.

Re:Not sure if this is a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545349)

When I'm viewing porn, the cursor will just be going all over the place.

Not just up and down?

Maybe you're doing it wrong.

Re:Not sure if this is a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545433)

Maybe you're doing it wrong.

Leapmotion (3, Informative)

Hunter Shoptaw (2655515) | about 2 years ago | (#41544729)

Leap has a system coming in December that does this.

Re:Leapmotion (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545169)

> Leap has a system coming in December that does this.

May the first to the patent office win a 7 year monopoly, while the other company goes bankrupt. God Bless America.

strangling gesture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41544735)

Does it support strangling gesture? When you are not content to just insult it. For when you want to wring the computer/software's neck because it is _pissing_ you off? Mostly caused by programs behaving differently/inconsistently for what I would consider standard operations. Or those "helpful" features that you have no clue where/how to turn them off.

Anyone else (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41544759)

not want a camera pointed at you just to use the computer?

Every Time I Use A Keypad (2)

Scorch_Mechanic (1879132) | about 2 years ago | (#41544875)

Every time I use a keypad, touchscreen, or other computerized device outside of my own desktop or laptop, I use my longest finger as my pointing finger. This is a habit I picked up my father, who is a longtime computer engineer.

He and I both find that using the longest finger to control such devices is very cathartic.

Re:Every Time I Use A Keypad (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41545241)

Interesting, when I use my left hand I use my middle finger, and when I use my right hand, I use the index finger. Never noticed it before, and not sure where I picked these up.

Re:Every Time I Use A Keypad (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41545255)

And when am typing (coding) and occasionally using the mouse, I use my right thumb (and very rarely my left thumb). Never noticed these before.

interesting followup project... (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about 2 years ago | (#41544891)

...an immersion environment using a couple projectors behind you and the kinect sensors in front of you (like, in the corners of the room).

I had a portable projector setup at one point, for the ubergeeky flightsim pilot in me, which ran off of three laptops and two projectors, onto a pair of screens set at right angles to each other: I would be sat or stood at the midpoint of the hypoteneuse to get fairly brilliant very large and almost completely immersive FS experience. Also worked on Unreal Tournament and Quake. It's not quite the same on a pair of 15" Dell panels (yeah, tried it).

This could actually be the precursor to the Minority Report type interface, but without the glove. Yep, I'd like that.

Re:interesting followup project... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41544923)

And everyone needed to know this because..?

can it call up your mom for me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41544961)

Yeah, but can it know when I want to fuck your momma, so it can call her up for me without me having to ask. I don't like putting out work for yo mamma the hood rat. If she comes to me, though--AND SHE DOES--then what the hell.

I've already done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545015)

I did use Ubuntu, till Unity then I gave not just the interface, but the entire OS the finger.

The deaf (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#41545029)

This would be something that I would assume the deaf would have a leg up on everyone.

Re:The deaf (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#41545129)

The deaf definitely have a leg up on the paraplegics

Re:The deaf (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545679)

The deaf definitely have a leg up on the paraplegics

Except for the deaf paraplegics. But I doubt they'd give an arm and a leg for this.

Intel research showed this at last months IDF (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545105)

A combination of a HD camera and an infrared camera.

They showed several applications and you can register to receive a camera and the SDK, I think they are doing a $1M (or at least a lot) contest for the best application.

Curious (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 years ago | (#41545161)

What happens when I wave my wang at it. Could have interesting uses in the pr0n industry.

Re:Curious (2)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#41545561)

That's an easter egg: a picture of Goatse will come up on the screen.

Re:Curious (3, Funny)

clickety6 (141178) | about 2 years ago | (#41546327)

What happens when I wave my wang at it.
You'll probably have to adjust the zoom...

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41547067)

Only if you have a 3d display ;)

Re:Curious (2)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 2 years ago | (#41547483)

I imagine there is a lower bound on the system's sensitivity.

Finally! (1)

endus (698588) | about 2 years ago | (#41545175)

Finally we can play Strategema without those annoying finger cups. Kolrami is going DOWN this time!

Interesting but I don't want it (1)

doomdoomdoom (2640917) | about 2 years ago | (#41545201)

I don't walk to talk to my computer or have to raise my arms in any way to interact with it. I am at the computer for my job 16+ hours a day and I like quiet and not-tired arms. Now a mind-reading interface would be useful if it were very accurate.

Re:Interesting but I don't want it (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#41547119)

I am at the computer for my job 16+ hours a day

Get another job then.

Re:Interesting but I don't want it (1)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 years ago | (#41550953)

Get another job then.

I'm not sure he really has the time to take on even more work.

Leap Motion (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41545369)

Why pay $300 for two Kinect cameras when Leap Motion already has this covered at $70

My cats loves touch interfaces (1)

MSRedfox (1043112) | about 2 years ago | (#41545707)

I picked up an optical touchscreen a while back. It was nifty and kinda gimmicky. Then my cat figure out that she could mess with the computer with her tail when I was grabbing a drink or in another room. Now the touchscreen USB cable is left unplugged. I foresee this having the same issue.

keyboard-less-keyboard (1)

futuregeek (2703515) | about 2 years ago | (#41545743)

So can I have my keyboard-less-keyboard now please?

Needs to be integrated with eye tracking (1)

Misagon (1135) | about 2 years ago | (#41546601)

I think that in-air gesture recognition needs to be integrated with eye tracking so that the computer can map hand to screen object from the user's line of sight to the screen.
Otherwise, there always needs to be a "pointer" of some kind, a proxy, like a virtual hand or pen on the screen.

It does not need to be a fancy type of eye tracking that detects where your gaze is. It only needs to locate where the eyes are in space.

Re:Needs to be integrated with eye tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41551101)

I like this idea. I messed with a couple of motion tracking projects in school using kinects and I have also done some computer vision based eye tracking. I had never thought of combining the two. I might try this in my free time.

Keyboard tray (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41546931)

They say that with this device you can have gestures without putting your hands away from the keyboard.
Well, seems that for that to be true your keyboard has to be on the top of your desk, not on the keyboard tray, where it is partially covered.

The Finger (1)

Benchevy (2745327) | about 2 years ago | (#41547361)

i wonder if it will be able to see the type of finger gesture, like if you flick the computer off in a joking way over some small frustration, it will be able to differentiate between that and a truly angry flick.

Rugged (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 years ago | (#41547717)

> Giving Your Computer Interface the Finger

Several weeks down the road:

Statistics Report
Gesture Classification
--------
0.0003% Giving The Finger
14.27% Using the mouse
23.42% Using the keyboard
62.28% Scratching vigorously

How accurate? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | about 2 years ago | (#41547761)

The accuracy might be good, but how accurately can you actually use this...?

Try putting your fingertip on a small item, did you get it right first time? Now try this when you cannot feel the object, and cannot see it in relation to your hand ?

Roll on the holographic display version of this ....

Pardon the Ubu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41548577)

it seems finger isn't installed by default, and I'm terribly afraid of $udo. Will who suffice?

Been trying these (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41550733)

We've been testing a bunch of these gesture systems at my work and while they are all promising wonderful things and have jazzy looking videos, they are all still very hinky feeling in actual practice. We have a few different systems in our show room and no matter how simple we make the user interface we are trying to control, I can maybe get the right response 10% of the time - even with a much fancier camera than a Kinect. For ones that recognize gestures, you have to be super precise with your hand gesture and even then the system has a hard time recognizing the gesture.

We even developed one of our own "touchless" touch screens where the touch surface is about an inch above the screen and while that does not involve any kind of gesture recognition, it's awkward to use. It looks fantastic and so futuristic, but we sell almost none of them because they are not comfortable to operate with no touch feedback and sticking your hand up toward the screen without anything to rest it on.

I question whether these will catch on. Most of them involve waving your hands around in the air, which is an uncomfortable thing to do, not to mention silly. One system we have recognizes when you make a circle with your thumb and forefinger - it looks like you are making the jerk off gesture when you try to use it. I cannot imagine any professional environment where that's going to catch on, though I do understand why it's the easiest gesture to get a computer to recognize.

I think the tabletop kinds of screens are where it's at with these gesture interfaces, so that you can wave your hands around above a surface, but, how many people use a computer that way?

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