Creating Virtual Objects With the Flick of a Finger

Creating Virtual Objects With the Flick of a Finger

This article is part of our exclusive IEEE Journal Watch series in partnership with IEEE Xplore.

Imagine doing a simple hand gesture and the object in front of you is manipulated the way you desire. Now this act of creation is possible—in the world of virtual reality (VR).

Researchers in the United Kingdom have designed a new system called HotGestures, which allows users to execute quick hand gestures indicating which tool they want to use as they create objects and designs in virtual environments. In two experiments, a small handful of study participants piloted the approach, reporting that it was fast and easy to use. The results are described in a study published in October in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics.

HotGestures give users “superhuman“ ability to open and control tools in virtual reality.University of Cambridge

Current VR systems allow users to select tools—for example, a pen—from a menu to create new objects and images in front of them. But this involves first selecting the menu, and then successfully selecting the correct tool.

Per Ola Kristensson is a professor of interactive systems engineering in the department of engineering at the University of Cambridge, in the U.K., and codirector of the Centre for Human-Inspired Artificial Intelligence. His team was interested in creating a system in which the user makes a simple hand gesture to indicate how they want to manipulate objects in VR, bypassing the need to select the tool from the menu.

“The system continuously receives observations of the user’s finger and hand movements for both hands through the headset’s integrated hand tracker,” explains Kristensson, adding that the AI evaluates the hand movements and predicts which tool the user wants.

HotGestures was designed so that users can also complete multistate gestures—for example, a user can make the hand signal for a pen and then indicate the desired width of the pen stroke by the distance between their fingers. “In this instance, it is also possible for the user to vary the stroke width by dynamically moving their index finger and thumb apart,” says Kristensson.

In their study, Kristensson’s team had 16 study participants pilot the new system. The volunteers were presented with a video demonstration on how to use HotGestures and had as much time as they wanted to practice 10 different hand gestures, which were a mix of static and dynamic movements. Participants were timed on how long it took them to complete an action using a gesture versus selecting that same action via the menu. After piloting HotGestures, participants were surveyed about their experience.

The results show that using the gesture mode was faster than the menu selection mode for the majority of actions, but especially for the pen, cube, sphere, and duplicate actions. The researchers also found that there was no significant difference in error rate between…

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The post “Creating Virtual Objects With the Flick of a Finger” by Michelle Hampson was published on 11/22/2023 by