Gesture Interface

Hands-free cooker: a prototype for gesture control.

Julius Schäufele

We developed a prototype to explore the possibilities of gesture interfaces in day-to-day environments. The real challenge here was to find a use case in which gesture interfaces could be more efficient than other interfaces like speech, touch, buttons and knobs. Imagine yourself with dirty, doughy hands, a mouthful of carrots or simply not willing to say a sentence like: “Please turn the left backmost hot plate on heat level 4” – this could be just the situation, where showing three fingers over the meant hot plate is very convenient.

The result is a cooker that can be controlled by positioning the hand over a hot plate (in safe distance of course) to initiate the gesture tracking. After the hand has been recognized by the tracking device, you can show an amount of fingers to set the heat level. If you show your flat hand, the hot plate will turn off.

We learned a lot about gesture interfaces from this practical lesson. One insight is: There are very few real use cases for gesture interfaces. Most of which are for controlling robots and surgical instruments remotely, for navigation through virtual reality or space and some are for special conditions like very loud and dirty industrial sectors as in oil production.