By Jeff Salton.
The gestural interface used by Tom Cruise in the movie Minority Report was based on work by MIT Media Lab’s Hiroshi Ishii, who has already commercialized similar large-scale gestural interface systems. However, such systems comprise many expensive cameras or require the user to wear tracking devices on their fingers. To develop a similar yet cost effective gestural interface system that is within reach of many more people other researchers at MIT have instead been working to develop screens with embedded optical sensors to track the movement of the user’s fingers that could quickly make touch screens seem outdated.
“The goal with this is to be able to incorporate the gestural display into a thin LCD device” – like a mobile phone – “and to be able to do it without wearing gloves or anything like that,” says researcher Matthew Hirsch, a PhD candidate at the Media Lab says.
Hirsch, along with MIT Media Lab professors Ramesh Raskar and Henry Holtzman and visiting researcher Douglas Lanman, have instead been working on a project that uses embedded sensors to turn displays into giant lensless cameras that can recognize hand gestures. MIT news reports that Paul Debevec, director of the Graphics Laboratory at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, whose doctoral thesis led to the innovative visual effects in the movie The Matrix says: “I like this one [gestural interface] because it’s really integrated into the display. Everyone needs to have a display anyway. And it is much better than just figuring out just where the fingertips are or a kind of motion-capture situation. It’s really a full three-dimensional image of the person’s hand that’s in front of the display.