Iron Man’s robotics for the geeks

HYDERABAD: Ever wondered how easy it would be to snap that perfect shot with your thumb and forefingers and ‘click’, sans camera? Or use hand gestures to dial a number when the keypad appears

Published: 10th January 2012 12:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:12 PM   |  A+A-

HYDERABAD: Ever wondered how easy it would be to snap that perfect shot with your thumb and forefingers and ‘click’, sans camera? Or use hand gestures to dial a number when the keypad appears on the palm? The SixthSense video on TED, a video sharing website, which had MIT graduate student Pranav Mistry demonstrating the technology showed the way and students in the city are hooked to it.

A workshop on SixthSense technology was held at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H) over the weekend to introduce students to gesture-controlled robotics.

“The concept of SixthSense as a mobile interface which can be controlled using physical gestures such as hand movement was covered in the workshop. On the lines of the technology developed at Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT, we were shown how to connect a camera, micro-projector and 3G phone hardware assembly to create an interface. It can transform any surface into a computer screen. Apart from the robotics-based application, novelty applications such as controlling a media player by flipping through the selection and adjusting the volume using simple hand gestures were also displayed,” says Prince Gupta, a student of third year electrical engineering at IIT-H.

The technology unveiled in 2009 by Dr Pattie Maes and graduate student Pranav Mistry set a precedent in computer-human interaction. Using this technology, sensors read the hand movements using a camera, which acts as the eye. The motions are ‘read’ and converted to action through the software that integrates the assembly.

Organized as part of their annual-fest Elan 2012, the workshop introduced the participants to a world of seamless information which connects the real world to the information available online, controlled using physical gestures.

The workshop gave a sneak preview of the development of sixth-sense robots and robotic arms controlled by the touch-sensation through haptics-based technology. The two-day event was attended by 464 engineering students across the country. Students from GITAM, BITS-Hyderabad as well as NIT Nagpur and colleges from Chennai and Bangalore attended it. “The registrations began on December 15. We would be conducting robotics competitions during our tech-cum-cultural fest and this serves as a primer for the students to learn new techniques,” says Prince Gupta.

Conducted by the Pune-based ARK Technosolutions, each team of four students was given a robotic kit to develop their own SixthSense bot. The lectures were supplemented by practice models developed by students.

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