Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) have demonstrated how a depth camera system such as Microsoft’s Kinect can create touch-based interfaces almost at will, with the wave of a hand. CMU’s WorldKit system enables someone to rub the arm of a sofa to “paint” a remote control for her TV, or swipe a hand across an office door to post his calendar from which subsequent users can “pull down” an extended version. These ad hoc interfaces can be moved, modified or deleted with similar gestures, making them highly personalized.

With CMU’s WorldKit system, you can rub the arm of a sofa to “paint” a remote control for your TV.
Researchers used a ceiling-mounted camera and projector to record room geometries, sense hand gestures, and project images on desired surfaces. The system does not require prior calibration, automatically adjusting its sensing and image projection to the orientation of the chosen surface. Users can summon switches, message boards, indicator lights, and other interface designs from a menu. Though WorldKit now focuses on interacting with surfaces, the researchers anticipate future work may enable users to interact with the system in free space.

Visit www.chrisharrison.net/index.php/Research/WorldKit to learn more.

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