Menu
Microsoft shows impressively accurate hand-tracking system for VR

Microsoft shows impressively accurate hand-tracking system for VR

Handpose could take virtual reality and robotics control to new levels

Virtual reality has come a long way: put on a headset and you can peer into an alien world or feel like you're laying on a beach in Jamaica. But interacting with that world -- reaching out your hand to pick up a virtual object on the screen -- still has a long way to go.

Researchers at Microsoft said Friday they've brought that capability a bit closer, with an accurate and flexible hand-tracking system called Handpose that uses a standard Xbox One Kinect without any hardware modifications.

The system uses the depth camera and software developed by the researchers to track movements of your hand and fingers and transfer them to the screen. They're not the only people to have done this, but they say their system advances the state of the art in several ways.

The most unique aspects are the flexibility of the camera placement and the distance at which it works accurately. In a video, the researchers show how they can walk several meters from the camera -- out the door of their office, actually -- and Handpose still reads their gestures accurately.

It also works when the camera is shaking around. All these advancements make the system much more robust, meaning it's a better candidate for real world use. They'll present Handpose at the Computer Human Interaction conference next week in Seoul.

Kinect already tracks fully body movements and gestures like a kick or a punch. Tracking wrist and finger movements is a harder problem to solve, as movements are more varied and often less pronounced.

Handpose could eventually be used in a gaming system like Kinect, or in a virtual reality headset like the Oculus Rift, allowing people to reach out their hand to lift, move and place objects on the screen.

It could also be used in robotics, allowing a person to remotely handle dangerous substances, for example, by moving their hands in front of a screen. It could also help robots mimic the dexterity of human hands.

Microsoft hopes Handpose will help robots do something as subtle as twist the lid off of a jar. It could be combined with artificial intelligence which "provides another step toward helping computers interpret our body language, including everything from what kind of mood we are in to what we want them to do when we point at something," Microsoft said.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CHIconsumer electronicsMicrosoft

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments