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Guiding Robot Planes With Hand Gestures

Aircraft-carrier crew use a set of standard hand gestures to guide planes on the carrier deck. But as robot planes are increasingly used for routine air missions, researchers at MIT are working on a system that would enable them to follow the same types of gestures. Yale Song, a Ph.D student in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, his advisor, computer science professor Randall Davis, and David Demirdjian, a research scientist at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), recorded a series of videos in which several different people performed a set of 24 gestures commonly used by aircraft-carrier deck personnel. In order to test their gesture-identification system, they first had to determine the body pose of each subject in each frame of video.