Our seemingly easy ability to spot and distinguish
one object from another is actually a complicated process that evolved over
millions of years.
Researchers working to give computers and robots the ability to
recognize gestures are up against several challenges. This system must recognize
a face or a gesturing hand, and it must be able to continue to distinguish
faces and hands as they move around among other objects.
Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese
Institute of Modern Optics have come up with a way to use skin color to
detect faces and hands. This is trickier than it sounds, because colors
are elusive, changing depending on illumination.
The researchers' system uses a camera connected to a processor that
uses an artificial neural network to detect skin color, then processes the
information further to determine which skin-color objects should be connected
The system could be used to enable gaze and gesture control of
electronics like appliances and robots. Tests of the system show that
it was able to segment gestures with 96.25 percent accuracy, according
to the researchers.
The researchers' gesture recognition method could be used practically
in five years, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the
August, 2003 issue of Optical Engineering.
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