What is a Gesture Recognition System?

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  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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Gestures are often read in order to obtain information. While reading gestures is not always an accurate indicator of a person’s state of mind, it can be helpful. Gestures are no longer considered to be merely a way of accentuating or highlighting certain parts of speech but are now considered a real part of our language. In exploring this field, researchers have also found that gestures can be used to control certain devices via a gesture recognition system.

Imagine having the ability to wave your hand, or use a gesture, to make your computer react. That is basically what a gesture recognition system does. The possibilities for such technology are unlimited. Such a system could be very useful in many different applications and could be especially promising for those with certain disabilities.

While hand or body movement can be efficient in some cases, there are also those who are unable to utilize this method. People who cannot move their hands or other body parts may be able to make a computer respond through gestures such as eye movement or having the computer read lips. These types of responses are achieved through the use of a camera. The camera generates information for the computer to interpret and the various gestures will then be used to stimulate certain applications.


A gesture recognition system can also be invaluable in the field of medicine. Doctors and surgeons may use such technology in place of touch screens, keyboards, or foot pedals to access data in real time. While the gestures used must be very specific, this could prove to be a huge advancement when it comes to sterility. A doctor will not contaminate a touch screen, keyboard, or foot pedal, but will instead be able to move his or her hand, without touching anything, to access necessary images.

In other areas, gesture recognition can improve communication and even entertainment. You may have seen the weather person on television make gestures, which instantly cause the weather map to change. Another good example of a gesture recognition system is an immersive video game. Immersive video games use gesture recognition system technology to allow the player to interact with the game without use of controllers or joysticks. This can make the experience much more realistic. Virtual bowling will feel more real when you actually swing your arm as if throwing a bowling ball rather than simply clicking a button.


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Post 2

I am looking forward to the time when my car has gesture recognition technology. Imagine if you could just wave your hand and your trunk would open. Or you could give a thumbs up and the volume would go up on the radio. These are just a few of the many ways that we could use this technology to enhance the experience of driving. There are probably ways to make it safer as well.

Post 1

The best known use of gesture recognition technology is the Nintendo Wii and all the copy cat software that has come out in the last few years.

Before the Wii this technology was really in its infancy. It often didn't work well and it was not much in the minds of the public. Many have forgotten this now, but when Nintendo first announced the premise for the Wii people thought it was ridiculous and was sure to fail. Now it is a wildly successful system that has sold millions of units.

And what is exciting is that this is just the first wave. Developers will continue to refine this technology until it is a fixture of our lives and able to truly enrich our interactions with machines.

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