Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces - Vol. 1

By Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler | Go to book overview
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Let Your Hands Talk - Gestures as a Means of Interaction

Joachim Machate# and Sven Schröter* #Interactive Products, Fraunhofer IAO, Stuttgart, Germany *University Dortmund≻, Dortmund, Germany


1
Introduction

Since computers exist, a crucial wish of people is to be able to communicate with these machines in a natural way. Science fiction films and literature provide lots of scenarios which lead to the impression that at one certain day people will be able to communicate with a computer or robot just like with any other human ( Adams 1979, Negroponte 1995, Stork 1997). Of course, nowadays the situation is different. After breaking the barriers of command-line interaction and the need for remembering not very meaningful codes, we learned about new concepts of interaction called direct manipulation. Graphical user interfaces and pointing devices became state of the art regarding human-computer interaction. But still an intermediate medium was needed in order to establish the power of direct manipulation concepts, i.e., a mouse or some other kind of pointing device. The use of a touch screen brought in a higher degree of directness, but shortened the possibilities for direct manipulation. Especially dragging and dropping requires a certain degree of training before being successfully applied with a touch screen. Nevertheless, just touching some virtual button surely provides a greater degree of naturalness. No need to remember any codes, no need to learn how to operate a mouse, just touch. In the late sixties, Myron W. Krueger started to work on video-based human computer interaction. Several projects like Videoplace or Painting the town, that are based on the calculation of the human body's silhouette, realized his vision of an intuitive and non-immersive input modality ( Krueger 1991). At the end of the nineties, speech recognition and machine translation seem to have made their way also into the homes of the residential user. Speech products became affordable at a price which was absolutely unrealistic some years ago. If we consider human-human interaction, speech provides only one communication channel. Others comprise facial

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