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Photos: Gesture controls, eye-tracking tech and facial recognition

Welcome to future computing from CeBIT...
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By Nick Heath on
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1 of 6 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Welcome to future computing from CeBIT...

As sensors and cameras become smaller, new ways are being dreamt up for humans to interact with computers. silicon.com rounds up everything from facial recognition to eye-tracking technologies on show at CeBIT 2011 in Germany.

Detecting changes in a person's mood when carrying out market research can be tricky and imprecise.

The Shore facial-detection system, from the Fraunhofer research organisation, is designed to identify and catalogue people's changing emotions using facial-recognition software.

The system works by looking for people's faces in a video and then suggesting their age, gender and facial expression, as well as being able to count the number of different people in shot.

In the CeBIT demo, Shore categorised expressions as angry, happy, sad or surprised - with the system reportedly able to detect changes in facial expression between individual frames of video.

The institute suggests the system would be suited to judging audience reaction to signs, videos and products.

Shore is able to detect the expressions of multiple people in the same frame and to assess the expressions of people not directly facing the camera.

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2 of 6 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Soon shopaholics may be able to browse the shelves of their favourite store just by looking through the front window.

The interactive shop window, produced by the Fraunhofer research organisation, is an interactive computer system that allows shoppers to discover more about products displayed in the shop window using gesture recognition.

Shoppers can point at products to view more detailed 3D models of the items on a screen and use gestures to explore the models and call up product information such as availability and price.

The position of the hands, face and eyes of the shopper are recorded by four cameras, and fed into the system's gesture-recognition software.

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3 of 6 Nick Heath/silicon.com

This laptop from Lenovo can be controlled by the user simply looking at different parts of the screen.

The prototype machine uses eye-tracking technology from Tobii to pinpoint where on the screen the user is looking.

The laptop shines near-infrared light at the user, then sensors at the bottom of the laptop screen detect the reflection of this light from the retinas to work out the position of the eyes.

Tobii CEO Henrik Eskilsson estimates that the laptop could be on the market within a couple of years.

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4 of 6 Nick Heath/silicon.com

Here is a close-up of the laptop's sensor bar and the two icons that flash purple as the bar tracks the user's eye movements.

The user is able to browse through the picture thumbnails on the screen simply by looking at individual thumbnails.

The demo at CeBIT allowed laptop users to control various applications, including navigating and zooming around a digital map.

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5 of 6 Nick Heath/ZDNet

This digital map table system, produced by the Fraunhofer Institute, is designed to help officials plan major state or sporting events, or manage large policing or military operations.

The table displays a map, which in the CeBIT demo could be navigated by manipulating the touchscreen tabletop.

Users are able to explore specific areas of the map in more detail by placing a Fovea-Tablett - a customised tablet PC developed by the Fraunhofer research organisation - on top of the table, as seen below.

Fraunhofer Institute tablet


The tablet can display a detailed, high-resolution image of the area under the tablet or highlight items of interest within the area. The tablet can also store the area of map underneath it, so it can be viewed away from the map table.

Users can also set up the tablet to highlight various details - for example, users can pick out different details for firefighters than those it would for police.

Users can also annotate the area of map displayed on the tablet and see those changes displayed on the digital map table.

Photos: Nick Heath/silicon.com and Fraunhofer Institute

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6 of 6 Nick Heath/silicon.com

This is the new Asus motion-control device, the Wavi Xtion, that can be used to control games or navigate menus on a PC.

The motion-sensor bar uses cameras and infrared sensors to detect the user's gestures or other body movements and translate them into commands for the computer - for instance, browsing a media menu system as seen here.

The device can also wirelessly stream high-definition video from a PC to a TV.

The Wavi Xtion will ship with a number of games and fitness apps, and is expected to be released around May this year.

Asus hopes to launch an online store of games, music and apps for the device in the third quarter of this year.

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