Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Robotics: Gesturing for control

New intelligent algorithms could help robots to quickly recognize and respond to human gestures. Researchers at A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore have created a computer program which recognises human gestures quickly and accurately, and requires very little training.
Many works of science fiction have imagined robots that could interact directly with people to provide entertainment, services or even health care. Robotics is now at a stage where some of these ideas can be realized, but it remains difficult to make robots easy to operate.

One option is to train robots to recognize and respond to human gestures. In practice, however, this is difficult because a simple gesture such as waving a hand may appear very different between different people. Designers must develop intelligent computer algorithms that can be ‘trained’ to identify general patterns of motion and relate them correctly to individual commands.

Now, Rui Yan and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore have adapted a cognitive memory model called a localist attractor network (LAN) to develop a new system that recognize gestures quickly and accurately, and requires very little training.

“Since many social robots will be operated by non-expert users, it is essential for them to be equipped with natural interfaces for interaction with humans,” says Yan. “Gestures are an obvious, natural means of human communication. Our LAN gesture recognition system only requires a small amount of training data, and avoids tedious training processes.”

Yan and co-workers tested their software by integrating it with ShapeTape, a special jacket that uses fibre optics and inertial sensors to monitor the bending and twisting of hands and arms. They programmed the ShapeTape to provide data 80 times per second on the three-dimensional orientation of shoulders, elbows and wrists, and applied velocity thresholds to detect when gestures were starting.

In tests, five different users wore the ShapeTape jacket and used it to control a virtual robot through simple arm motions that represented commands such as forward, backwards, faster or slower. The researchers found that 99.15% of gestures were correctly translated by their system. It is also easy to add new commands, by demonstrating a new control gesture just a few times.

The next step in improving the gesture recognition system is to allow humans to control robots without the need to wear any special devices. Yan and co-workers are tackling this problem by replacing the ShapeTape jacket with motion-sensitive cameras.

“Currently we are building a new gesture recognition system by incorporating our method with a Microsoft Kinect camera,” says Yan. “We will implement the proposed system on an autonomous robot to test its usability in the context of a realistic service task, such as cleaning!”

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute for Infocomm Research


Yan, R., Tee, K.P., Chua, Y., Li, H. & Tang, H. Gesture recognition based on localist attractor networks with application to robot control. IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine 7, 64–74 (2012). (link to original article below)

Lee Swee Heng | Research asia research news
Further information:

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Next Generation Cryptography
20.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Sichere Informationstechnologie SIT

nachricht TIB’s Visual Analytics Research Group to develop methods for person detection and visualisation
19.03.2018 | Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>