Fujitsu touch control interface can work with low cost equipment
Fujitsu Laboratories developed a technology that enables gesture-based information interaction which merges digital data and real objects. As many of its competitors in user interface niche, the technology can accurately detect where the user’s finger is and what is being touched. However, what makes it different compared to other approaches is the fact it uses off-the-shelf cameras and projectors to function.
The technology can accurately and rapidly detect finger operations on actual objects using an ordinary camera. It uses a camera to automatically measure irregularly shaped objects on a table and then automatically adjust the coordinate systems for the camera, projector and the actual objects.
Once self-calibrated, the system is able to recognize user’s finger movements and interaction with detected objects, as well as using the projector to match them with the digital display projected onto physical objects. The finger detection works after the algorithm recognizes the shape of the user’s fingers by extracting the fingers’ colors and contour features.
By enhancing images of the user’s fingertips, the technology is able to obtain a level of precision that is sufficient for touch detection, even using low-resolution images that can be captured with an ordinary webcam. Moreover, the technology is capable to track movements of up to 30cm (1 foot) per second, thus enabling detection of natural hand movement and gestures.
In order to increase the precision, the technology controls the color and lighting of the camera image, depending on the surrounding ambient light, along with technology that corrects for differences among individual fingers. This enables a stable extraction of the form of the user’s fingers with minimal impact of the environment and variations among individuals.
This new technology makes it possible to easily have interactions with actual objects and digital information. It could be used to copy important parts of a document in digital format by simply tracing the desired area of the document while it is placed on a table. Scanned data can be enlarged or shrunk, or used in combination with other data.
Before celebrating the opportunity to modify the system to create your own smart kitchen at a fairly low cost, you’ll have to know that this technology is still at the demonstration level, and folks from Fujitsu Laboratories plan to develop a commercial version of it by 2014.
I really like how they made it much more affordable by using regular equipment. Remember those Disney Visions or Bill Gates vision of smart homes?
Although it is presented as a data collection system, it is step forward from a flatbed scanner and it could be much more. It could also be used by libraries to create digital copies of their archive.
I hope they’ll involve the community with app development :)