Experimenting with Gesture Control Technology

Experimenting Gestural Control Technology

Immersive video and photo are white hot topics in B2B marketing right now, with all the work going into virtual reality (VR). While not quite VR, we got a new camera (a Ricoh Theta) that allows us to shoot in 360 degrees with one click. We’ll be taking it on photo shoots, to trade shows, like the American Institute of Architects, and to other events to provide an additional point of view (pun intended). We’ve also been playing around with it in the agency to capture quick, 360-degree videos.

To quote the great warrior poet and musical artist Prince, “Maybe I’m just like my mother, she’s never satisfied.” So we wondered, what else could we do with these images?

Over the past year or so, we’ve been learning more and more about motion control and gesture interfaces for computing. Much like tapping, swiping and pinching have changed the way we interact with a piece of glass and aluminum, waving and pointing could be the next way we communicate with devices. They would be closer to how we actually communicate with other people.

To experiment with a big-screen, gesture control interface, we used the following:

  • A modern web browser (in this case, Google Chrome)
  • Some HTML, CSS and JavaScript
  • A Leap Motion controller with the JavaScript SDK
  • The Three.js plug-in
  • 360-degree photos from our camera
  • A projector

The point wasn’t to develop an end-to-end solution, but to provide a starting point.

Experimenting Gestural Control Technology

What you’ll see in the video is a projection of a 360-degree picture taken from inside the cab of a piece of construction equipment, approximating the operator’s view. In the foreground is the Leap Motion controller. By waving your hands over the controller in any X-Y axis, you change the operator’s view in the corresponding direction. “Punching” a closed hand forward zooms in. Going in the other direction zooms out. “Grab the wheel and turn” resets the view and moves in the corresponding X direction.

It’s pretty straightforward stuff, but it could be very useful in engaging prospects at your trade show booth. It’s immediately understandable regardless of language or culture and doesn’t require the user to grab a keyboard and mouse, which tends to create a more “singular” experience.

Regardless, it’s fun thinking about the possibilities a new communication method provides. If you’d like to explore this further, please e-mail Andy Hunt at ahunt@godfrey.com.

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