Play in the arcade now.
Imagine a gaming system where you could pick up special items, swing your sword, and navigate a virtual world using only gestures of your hand. No controllers to charge or replace, no confusion on which button does what. Now imagine that you didn't have to sell your house to afford that gaming system. Gesture-based computing has been around for awhile, but until recently has been expensive and not terribly accurate. Researchers at MIT have developed a gesture-based system that utilizes only a webcam (standard on many new computers) and a special vinyl glove.
The colorful glove is made of stretchy vinyl that fits any user--no need for special fittings. To calibrate the system, the user places their hand onto a standard-sized paper in front of their webcam--calibration takes a mere three seconds. The way the gloves work combines a series of patches and colors with a new software developed by Robert Wang. The glove has 20 patches that are irregular in shape and in 10 colors. The different colors allow the software to distinguish between different areas of the hand. The webcam captures a picture of the hand wearing the glove, which is then cropped and reduced in resolution. At this point, the image is merely a 40 pixel by 40 pixel shot of the glove. The software then rapidly searches through a database filled with images of the glove in various positions until it finds a match. Because the system needs only to match images rather than calculating positions, it is extremely fast and inexpensive. The special vinyl glove can be produced for about a dollar or so.
With the system working so well, Wang and his collaborator Jovan Popovic have already begun work on shirts using the same technology. A system that tracks whole body movements based on the same technology has great potential for practical applications in athletics, acting, and of course, gaming.