Humans use their hands for many everyday tasks. The study and analysis of goal-directed human hand movement is an interesting area of study in its own right, but it is becoming an increasingly important topic in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) because of the growing popularity of 2-D graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and more recently 3-D virtual reality systems (VR), where gestural input and full hand pointing are being explored as the input technique of choice for future computer systems and for telerobotic systems used in some advanced manufacturing applications.
A traditional problem that faces researchers is the acquisition and analysis of accurate data describing 3-D hand movement, especially in the context of specific tasks. This research project, conducted by a multidisciplinary team that includes computer scientists, engineers and researchers from the field of kinesiology, is designing and implementing a Virtual Hand Laboratory (hardware and software based on high performance 3-D graphics workstations and state-of-the-art 3-D motion analysis systems). This will provide a testbed for future studies of goal-directed human hand movement including studies related to computer-aided surface design, computer animation of the human body, gestural input, and ``smart'' interfaces that recognize a user's intent by analyzing hand and body movement as part of the user interface.
The anticipated benefits of this research are new methodologies for studying human hand movement, new knowledge about 3-D human-computer interaction techniques, and improved systems for computer-aided design of 3-D objects and for computer animation of human figures.
This research project is a collaboration involving Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and various industrial organizations. It is funded by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada under a three-year strategic grant.
Activity takes place within the Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre MAGIC in the Imager Computer Graphics Laboratory of the Department of Computer Science at UBC, the Computer Graphics and Multimedia Laboratory of the Department of Computing Science at SFU, and in the Human Motor Systems Lab of the School of Kinesiology at SFU.
Consult these additional pages to find out more about the Virtual Hand Laboratory project.