Optical gesture recognition system puts sweat on the brow of video game players
Developers at Holoplex Corp. (Pasadena, CA) and Sony Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) have developed an optical processing system that recognizes gestures and reproduces them in a video-game playstation?players act out movements similar to those conventionally input by the game
joystick. Demonstrated at SigGraph ?97 (Los Angeles, CA) in August, the system converts gestures?punches, kicks, squats, jumps, and moving forward and backward?into the equivalent movements of a character in the fighting game OBattle Arena TohshindenO on a Sony Computer Entertainment Playstation.
A broadside video camera records player motion, and each video snapshot of the motion is displayed on a Kopin (Taunton, MA) CyberDisplay 0.24-in.-diagonal transmissive active-matrix liquid-crystal display?one for each player. A 690-nm, 20-mW diode laser projects that image onto a holographic optical element; the diffracted laser light is then detected by an array of detectors. The intensities that each detector receives are processed by a 266-MH¥Pentium computer that determines which of the preprogrammed gestures was used, if any, at 30 frames per second and tells the playstation how to move the character. The companies are working with several video-game designers and vendors and are hoping to install the optical processing video-game system in entertainment centers, amusement parks, and arcades.