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MIT Gestural Gloves Bring Back the '80s

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MIT gestural gloves

Jason Dorfman/CSAIL

Somewhere in your closet there's a pair of gloves straight out of "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo."  Well, if you dust them off and fire up your Webcam, you'll have the beginnings of a nifty gestural interface system, thanks to research at MIT.

Robert Wang of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory designed a gestural system that tracks a pair of rainbow-colored Lycra gloves to be used with a standard Webcam. The gloves, which cost only a dollar to manufacture, can be used to manipulate virtual objects such as blocks or even complex machinery models.

The system was presented at the Siggraph 2009 conference, and has gone through several design stages. The current gloves are patterned with 20 shapes and 10 colors to enable sophisticated tracking. The system now calibrates faster and works better in bright-light environments.

The tracker is one of many rival prototypes aiming at "Minority Report"-style gestural control, but it requires very little hardware. It recalls a similar MIT prototype, Sixth Sense, which tracks colored material attached to a user's fingertips.

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