Microsoft researchers turn VR into a hands-on experience

IDG News Service | Apr 17, 2015

Handpose tracks your hand and finger movements in real time using an Xbox One Kinect's depth camera and software developed by Microsoft researchers.

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Virtual reality has come a long way. Strap on a headset and you can peer into and feel like you’re in another world. One of its limitations though is that you can’t interact with the virtual world- you can’t reach out your hand to pick something up.

Researchers at Microsoft said they’re bringing that capability a bit closer with Handpose. It’s a hand-tracking system that uses an Xbox One Kinect without any hardware modifications.

The system uses the depth camera and software developed by the researchers to track hand and finger movements and transfer them to the screen.

Microsoft will be presenting Handpose at the Computer Human Interaction conference next week in Seoul.

Now, Microsoft isn’t the only company to be developing a hand-tracking system but handpose advances the technology in a few ways.

First, the flexibility of the camera placement and distance. Researchers can walk several meters away from the camera and Handpose can still pick up their hand movements. It also works when the camera is shaking around, which makes the system more likely to work in the real world.

Eventually, Handpose could be used with a gaming system like Kinect or a virtual reality headset, like Oculus Rift. People would be able reach out their hand to lift and move objects on the screen.
In San Francisco, Melissa Aparicio, IDG News Service.