Right now hand tracking technology relies on things like cameras and built-in sensors like a gyroscope and accelerometer. While these seem to work just fine for today’s applications, researchers at Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have come up with a potentially better method.
This method of hand tracking, dubbed FingerTrak, involves using thermal sensors. These sensors are small and are roughly the size of a pea. What these sensors do is that it monitors the contours of the wrist of the wearer. This has several benefits, one of which is that it can be made smaller than traditional hand-tracking wearables, but it could also be used to track more subtle movements.
There are plenty of possible uses for this technology, such as sign language which involves both hand and finger gestures, so by using thermal sensors to pick up on these different movements, it will allow computers to interpret sign language and translate them. It could also potentially be used for other medical purposes such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and of course, gaming in virtual reality.
We’re not sure when FingerTrak’s technology is expected to be available commercially or who will be adopting it, but like we said, the potential behind this tech is huge and with VR still being in the stages of infancy, we wouldn’t be surprised if this solution could lead to more immersive VR experiences in the future.