Various enterprises and personal interests, such as Man-Machine Interaction (MMI), gesture studies, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Month: October 2006 Page 1 of 2

Canned Signs or Gebarenblik

An Dutch company called RDG Kompagne sells software package Gebarenblik (Canned Signs) developed by Handicom, see their English product description. It is also sold by inTAAL.

Their logo (left) seems rather elaborate to indicate a simplified sign system?

It is an application to help the teaching and learning of Weerklankgebaren. This is a set of about 1000 signs (with images, pictograms and the like) which are quite similar to this Simplified Sign System from the US. You could buy a book (50-60 euro), but this software (135 euro) lets you create on-demand practice material, practice on the computer, and play a memory-game.

Cabinet and Blue Eyes

A colleague of mine called Ianus Keller, developed The Cabinet during his PhD work here at the TU Delft. It is a device to scan and digitally collect images for further usage in collages and the like. It has gesture recognition in the sense that you can use a stylus on the touchsensitive tabletop display to manipulate images and perform certain functions.

Ever dreamed of being the world’s premier digital collage building designer? (source)

Inspired by his work a group at the TU Eindhoven recently made news headlines with Blue Eyes (pdfvideo), their version of a Cabinet-like scanning and collecting device. They also use gestures to manipulate the images. You can even use both hands in certain gestures. The hands are tracked by the overhead camera, there is no touch-sensitive display involved it appears. I would think that a multi-touch solution would fit the design nicely as well.

They use it to make mood boards. Do you know the difference between a collage and a mood board? (source)

ISGS 3rd International Conference: Integrating Gestures

The International Society for Gesture Studies is organizing their third International Conference. It is called Integrating Gestures. It will be held June 18-21, 2007, at the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (just north of Chicago).

Deadline for submissions of abstracts is NOVEMBER 25, 2006

The International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS) was founded in 2002. They organize conferences (Austin 2002, Lyon 2005, Illinois2007) and supports the international journal Gesture. The Nijmegen Gesture Center is one of the supporting pillars, as are the labs of Janet Bavelas, Susan Goldin-Meadow, David McNeill, and the Berlin Gesture Center (see their links).

A Poem called Gestures

Just in case a poet (or poetry lover) lurks inside you, here is a poem by Kathleen Vibbert called Gestures.

There are no doves along the reef …


Rock Paper Scissors for Fanatics

Somewhere out there is a man called David C. Lovelace. And he seems to be very busy filling the internet with graphics, flash, cartoons. The thing that caught my eye was his slightly over-the-top expansion of a simple game of gestures called Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS).

Wanna play RPS with more than 3 gestures? (source OneMoreLevel)

You would think a man was content with seeing an obsession come to life in such a nice way. But mister Lovelace went on to make an even bigger RPS game with 101 gestures!

And a more personal note: Bernie DeKoven listed RPS-25 on his FunLog site at November 24, 2005. He added a dedication to his son Elyon DeKoven, who was a PhD-student just before me at my department, and his grandson, Zev, one-year-old at the time. So, Elyon, if you happen to read this: congratulations with becoming a daddy! It’s a funny small world.

Ikea’s Anna Smiles in the Face of Abuse or Stupidity

Need support or help from Ikea? They will gladly tell you to go Ask Anna!.

Anna, a cheap but decent embodied conversational agent?

She may not solve your problems, but she will sell you a lovely couch whenever she can. Well, I find particular fault with the annoying way she keeps smiling, charmingly lets her head drop to one side, and blinks her eyes at me.

I asked her “Did you know the Ikea concern is a financial myriad of foundations sleucing away the money to the Dutch Antilles without paying decent taxes anywhere?” Anna merely blinked her cold blue eyes without moving a muscle and replied: Read here to learn more about IKEA in the world.

Well I guess Ikea are as good as most companies and not as bad as some. Or at least I tell myself this every time I need cheap, but decent furniture.

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2006 Gebärdensprachworkshop der RWTH Aachen

Important Upcoming Event! The 2006 Gebärdensprachworkshop der RWTH Aachen!

The place to be on oktober 27th?

Featuring, among many other speakers, yours truly 🙂

Register at the website for a humble 10 euro’s. You will not be disappointed. There are nice talks, nice sandwiches and a good crowd. Many Deaf Germans attend. It is something of a social event too. I have been to the last two workshops and found them very nice. They really organise things to accomodate Deaf attendees. Two sign language interpreters and large video projections aid the presentations. The group in Aachen working on sign language recognition is one the oldest in the field.

[Mail] Is Gesture a Principle?

Budapest – July 2006 (source)

Dear Jeroen,

I am enjoying your blog. You have just the right balance of visual interest, short articles, humor and a great deal of knowledge lurking about behind the scenes. This is what my blog should do, but it gets mired in earnestness and I don’t blog regularly.

With a colleague I am writing a book on what we call the principles. To be a principle something should be manifest at all levels and its withdrawal would make the universe as we know it collapse. This is a very modest project as you can see. An example of a principle is attraction: molecular bonds, gravity, sex, magnetism, planetary orbits, obsessions, addictions, flies and shit, money and misers. The list of attractions is infinite. Principles have the interesting quality of being evident only in their manifestations. You can’t see, hear, smell, touch or taste an attraction but they are everywhere and you constantly experience them.

My colleague, whose concept this is, believes that gesture is a principle. I am wrestling with the question. One problem is that gesture seems to be interpretive and communicative, so it seems to be for the human and animal realm. But, when I look at plants, flowers and trees each seems to have unique and characteristic sets of gestures. A prickly pear cactus, for example, has very different gestures than a Rembrandt tulip. My writing desk has scalloped ornaments, and curvaceous entarsia. These, it seems to me, have gesture, as does the grain of the walnut. At some point pattern seems to achieve lift off and take on what I can only call gesture. If you look at this portrait by Rubens, you can see gesture in the clothing, the feather on the hat and the background.

Does this use of gesture make sense to you? Is gesture only in the eye of the beholder and the intent of the gesturer? Can a marble cornice have gesture? Does gesture seem so fundamental that you could call it a principle?


Geoffrey Thomas

[Mail] Correspondence on the blog

Dear Reader, you are hereby cordially invited to correspond on gesture or sign language topics.
[mail at jeroenarendsen dot nl]

A few weeks back I got some email with questions and ideas about gestures. I like getting such emails. Not because it tells me there are readers out there. I can check the statistics for that. I like it because it offers a fresh perspective. The ideas expressed are usually different from my own. It makes me think again about gestures.

Will you write me? (source)

Some of the emails lead to a small discussion. Ideas are exchanged or good questions posed. I will then ask the writers if I can put the mail online for two reasons. First, to share it with the other readers. Second, to archive it on the website. I simply post the original email and put the rest of the correspondence in the comments.

You like to write but do not want it published on the blog? Don’t worry, I will publish nothing without your explicit permission.

Atlas Gloves

Who does not love Google Earth?
It is free, it is fun, it is useful and usable.
What more could anyone want?

I am the eye in the sky (source)

Well… some people, like Dan Phiffer and Mushon Zer-Aviv, want a gesture interface to Google Earth. Check out their DIY gesture recognition with Atlas Gloves. They use a dual-layer projection, like in the Playstation Eye-Toy and Xbox. The software is open source and downloadable. So anyone can try to get it working, and people do.

I wonder: will Google Earth be that Killer Gesture Application?

Perhaps the combination of being able to gesture and using a big projection on the wall is what makes it so good? Google Earth looks nice on a big screen. And gesture recognition needs a bit of distance between user and camera. So it works nicely in this case. Some of the functionality may however be difficult, like entering city names or coordinates.

Here are some guys who use a fancy two-handed touchscreen to create a speech and gesture interface. They use the speech recognition for entering city names and specific commands like layer activation. How would the Atlas gloves do that for you?

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