The multi-colored gloves used to interact with Wang and Povovic's software fit a variety of hand sizes and cost about one dollar to manufacture.  (Source: Jason Dorfman/CSAIL (MIT))
And with a wave and twist of the hand, your computer does your bidding.

While many three dimensional object tracking systems exist -- the prime example being the dot-based systems used to create those visually stunning Hollywood blockbuster animations -- a true open-air visually-tracking interface for our beloved computers has yet to take the world by storm. Though these state-of-the-art systems allow motion tracking and later manipulation of that three dimensional input, trying to control another system with motion, due to the perceived complexity of such things, has not yet become a standard.

Robert Wang and Jovan Popovic of MIT are looking to change that, though, and their intriguing system uses only the average webcam and a multi-colored lycra glove as hardware. Rather than some of the early attempts at visual motion tracking that used colored dots or tape on the hand, the multi-colored glove lets the algorithm-based software track the movement, position and posture of the entire hand.

Instead of creating a complex three-dimensional image that the computer has to go through great feats of processing to understand and represent, the software instead compares the image of the gloved hand from the webcam to a pre-installed database of 40 by 40 pixel images of shapes and positions of a similarly colored "hands." Though the active software requires several hundred megabytes of memory, it returns a result to manipulation part of the interface program in a fraction of a second. This allows the visual representation to be modified with milliseconds latency at a low cost to processing.

More information and a demonstration of how the software can interact with three dimensional objects via the software can be found here.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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