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Augmented Reality Meets Gesture Recognition

September 23, 2011 | Hogan Keyser
A new app superimposes imagery over your smart-phone view, and lets you interact with it via hand gestures.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2011 | BY TOM SIMONITE - To make its business software more effective, HP recently paid $10 billion for Autonomy, a U.K. software company that specializes in machine learning. But it turns out that Autonomy has developed image-processing techniques for gesture-recognizing augmented reality--the type of technology that could be more attractive to consumers than IT managers.

Augmented reality involves layering computer-generated imagery on top of a view of the real world as seen through the camera of a smart phone or tablet computer. So someone looking at a city scene through a device could see tourist information on top of the view.

Autonomy's new augmented reality technology, called Aurasma, goes a step further: it recognizes a user's hand gestures. This means a person using the app can reach out in front of the device to interact with the virtual content. Previously, interacting with augmented reality content involved tapping the screen. One demonstration released by Autonomy creates a virtual air hockey game on top of an empty tabletop--users play by waving their hands.

Autonomy's core technology lets businesses index and search data that conventional, text-based search engines struggle with. Examples are audio recordings of sales calls, or video from surveillance cameras. "We use the same core technology in Aurasma to identify images or scenes and retrieve the relevant content to put on top," says Aurasma director Matt Mills, who presented the app at the DEMO technology conference in Santa Clara, California, this week.

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