New Computer Program Uses Hand Signals to Control Computers

Service Engineering

Typealike is an innovative technology manufactured by Canadian researchers which allows hand signals to trigger reactions from computers.

As of now, a prototype has been developed which uses a webcam and mirror to detect various gestures and causes the computer to operate based on where they are. For example, if someone using the device was to put their right hand by the keyboard with their thumb pointing upwards, this would trigger the computer to raise the volume.

“A prototype has been developed which uses a webcam and mirror to detect various gestures and causes the computer to operate based on where they are“

The University of Waterloo says that this prompted the creation of a mechanical attachment that guides the camera to the users' hands. The software is able to identify and interpret what the user is gesturing in a variety of situations and for a variety of users.

During the development stage, a group of volunteers were used to make various hand movements which were put onto a database and undergo examinations so that researchers could develop their knowledge on how to make the software as effective and adaptable as possible.

The Typealike application has the potential to be used in virtual reality in place of traditional hand-held controls.

Nalin Chhibber, a graduate from the University of Waterloo said that “It started with a simple idea about new ways to use a webcam. The webcam is pointed at your face, but the most interaction happening on a computer is around your hands. So we thought, what could we do if the webcam could pick up hand gestures?”

Fabrice Matulic, a senior researcher at Preferred Networks, explained that “It’s a neural network, so you need to show the algorithm examples of what you’re trying to detect. Some people will make gestures a little bit differently, and hands vary in size, so you have to collect a lot of data from different people with different lighting conditions.”

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