Control a Beamed Powerpoint Presentation with Gestures

These students appear to have created a gesture based application that we also considered about four years ago. I know IBM and Philips were interested in this sort of application. So, well done guys! And excellent presentation too. I think they managed to make the best of it, given a difficult application.

Why is a presentation system a difficult application? Well if someone is presenting he will usually gesture during talking. These gestures are directed at the audience and not at the presentation software. So, the first task of such a system is to discriminate between those gestures: what is for me and what is for the audience. Furthermore, a presenter may also be fidgeting during his talk which shouldn’t be interpreted as a gesture. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether these students treated these issues.

The things they did do seem to be designed well enough. I think I like the calibration they designed: It creates a connection between the user’s physical environment and the camera he must address. It grounds the interaction. The subsequent examples of the functionality they have built in is less impressive. The forward-back commands are okay, but the drawing and highlighting are not very valuable in my opinion. People in the audience can see that you are pointing at something so there is perhaps little need to do more. But maybe these are first steps which need a bit more maturity in their interaction design to become useful.

On the whole, excellent work.