Wired is reporting that a research group from MIT have made a breakthrough on gesture-based computing, and it is easy to use and inexpensive. For the cost of a webcam and a $1 pair of gloves, you can fully interact with 3D models on your computer, and have full gesture-based control of your system.
By using a pair of lycra gloves that have 20 irregularly shaped patches in 10 different colors, a webcam will be able to generate a unique pattern for each movement of the user’s hand. It then recognizes the color pattern, records the movement and stores the corresponding command.
The colors are bright and easily distinguishable to allow the camera to operate under most lighting conditions. The system records each movement based on the colors it sees moving, then it stores that image as data. A full library of movements can take up hundreds of megabytes of space, but with storage capacities ever increasing, thisis a minor concern. When the user moves their hand, the computer searches its database for corresponding movement and reacts accordingly. Since the computer is simply matching the movements with recorded commands, it can have a fast reaction time.
The method is similar to how Project Natal works, but the delicacy you can display through the movements of your fingers, and especially the low cost make this idea stand apart.
The technology could be used in video games to give gamers a truly interactive world to explore, but the applications are limitless. Engineers could strip down complex models virtually, while architects could design a building with their hands. If the video below is any indication of the potential of this system, then it could soon go from the research labs to the stores.