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New Computer Knows When You Flip It The Bird

Computer Lab Users - From FlickrComputer Lab Users - From Flickr

Imagine being able to browse the web, write email and do everything else you need to do without touching your computer. What if it could all be done with a flick of your wrist or the movement of your eyes? Well, researchers at the Virtual and Interactive Simulations of Reality Research Group, at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia just might make that happen for you.

She and her colleagues have developed a computer system architecture that can carry out "gesture recognition". In this system, the person wears "datagloves" which have illuminated LEDs that are tracked by two pairs of computer webcams working to produce an all-round binocular view. This allows the computer to monitor the person's hand or shoulder movements. This input can then be fed to a program, a game, or simulator, or to control a character, an avatar, in a 3D virtual environment.

"We developed two gesture recognition systems: DESigning In virtual Reality (DesIRe) and DRiving for disabled (DRive). DesIRe allows any user to control dynamically in real-time simulators or other programs. DRive allows a quadriplegic person to control a car interface using input from just two LEDs on an over-shoulder garment. For more precise gestures, a DataGlove user can gesture using their fingers.", said Manolya Kavakl, the inventor of the system.

It sounds like a very cool system, provided that my online avatar does not end up looking lke the Mii I made to play Wii Fit. While this system is primarily designed to help the disabled access computer resources more easily it has a wide range of potential applications. Those interactive VR video games that were dreamed of in early 90's Sci-Fi movies could be a reality.

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