Microsoft's Handpose Tech Recreates Real Movement in VR

Microsoft's Handpose Tech Recreates Real Movement in VR

Motion-tracking is still a big aspect of virtual and augmented reality that needs refining. Oculus and HTC have some nifty controllers, but what we'd all really like is just to click our fingers--literally--and get what we want.

To that end, Microsoft are developing their Handpose technology, which the team say can accurately track precise, detailed hand movements for interacting with computers using only a camera. The eventual goal is that we'll be able to move away from keyboard, mouse and controller completely and rely just on intuitive, organic gestures (as shown in the video below).

In virtual environments, accurate hand tracking would mean being able to interact with and manipulate even small objects as we do in real life, such as picking up tools, pushing buttons, flipping switches and so on. Microsoft is also looking at how developers could create tools that allowed computers to understand specific gestures and associate them to certain functions, with one example being that you could mimic hanging up a phone to end a Skype call.

The goal of the research project, called Project Prague, is to enable computers to not just recognise users' hands, but also the intention of their gestures. According to Microsoft, developers would be able to make custom gestures for their own apps with "very little additional programming or expertise" and the system would work with an off-the-shelf 3D camera. 
In virtual reality applications, it could be argued that a lack of something tangible to hold could detract from the immersion – say, for instance, when you're meant to be holding a weapon of some kind. Yet because Microsoft's system is so accurate, it allows for input gestures like touching your fingers together, which the researchers believe can give the impression of touching a solid object. 

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