Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes.
Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh
Airs Weekdays 2:31, 3:31 and 5:49 a.m.

Almost Touching

No drawing on the walls!  Unless it’s via computer.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Engineers at Purdue University have developed a touch-activated system that projects onto almost any surface.

Researcher Niklas Elmqvist says it’s basically like having a giant iPad on your walls, counters, or tables--without the expensive technology.

The team used a Microsoft Kinect Camera that senses three-dimensional space, and coupled it with a computer model of the hand.

Here’s how the system works: say a computer screen is projected onto a table. Then, the camera and program will locate the center of each hand as it touches the table. The program tracks hand movements and isolates different parts of the hand. That tells it if the hand is the left or the right, and how far it is from the surface.  It can then determine which fingers are actually pressing down.

In one study, Elmqvist’s system was 98 percent accurate in determining hand position and movement.

Not that I don’t still like to use my digits for shadow puppets. Call it a bunny as opposed  to a mouse!

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC Pasadena, California. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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