Virtual reality allows us to delve into amazing digital universes. To offer a complete experience, apart from the glasses to be able to visualize the environment, the platforms also have controls that transmit the position of the hands. However, accurate finger tracking is not an easy task, and this type of device still has a lot of room for improvement.
A team of researchers from Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created a bracelet that can track the position of the hands and fingers very precisely, and then transmit it to virtual reality systems.
The device is called FingerTrak and, unlike other solutions, such as GloveOne gloves or Teslasuit haptic gloves, it uses no sensors to record movement, but thermal cameras.
As you can see in the images, despite the cables and cameras, the bracelet is not excessively cumbersome and allows movements to be carried out normally. It has four small thermal cameras strategically placed they take multiple images of the contours of the wrist.
Then a deep neural network links the images, and from the contours of the wrist, is able to reconstruct the entire hand in the virtual world, including the positions of the joints of the 20 fingers.
“This was an important discovery by our team: By looking at the contours of the wrist, the technology could accurately reconstruct where the fingers are in 3D,” explains Cheng Zhang from Cornell University. “It is the first system that reconstructs the complete posture of the hand based on the contours of the wrist “.
In the video that we have left you a little above you can take a look at the evidence of the researchers. They showed that it can accurately reproduce different actions, such as opening a book, writing with a pen, drinking or writing a message on the mobile.
Apart from its application in virtual reality, the FingerTrak can also be used to transmit hand movements to a robot, to translate sign language or for medical applications.