Software performance

Researchers at the University of Dundeeare aiming to create a new gesture-tracking interface for artists and performers.

The G-Vision project is a collaboration between Nigel Johnson, Reader in Interactive Media in the School of Television and Imaging, and Dr. Stephen McKenna, of the Division of Applied Computing.

It has been supported by a £40,000 Digital Media Commercialisation Award, funded jointly by Scottish Enterprise (SE) Tayside and the University’s own Department of Research and Innovation Services.

The one-year project aims to create a prototype software `plug-in’ which could be used to track anything from a simple hand gesture to the movements of groups of people. The software could then process these movements and respond intelligently in whichever way the artist wants it to.

For instance, specific hand gestures from either an artist working within a real-time installation or giving a performance could trigger many different actions and reactions, tailored to the artist’s requirements, without having to physically handle any equipment.

Similarly, the movements of a large group of people viewing an exhibition could be used to instantly change what they are hearing or seeing.

“This sort of low-cost and effective, real-time, programmable interface has long been a kind of Holy Grail in the interactive arts,” said Nigel Johnson.

“This is something which would only be restricted by the artist’s own imagination and how they wish to apply it.”

G-Vision would plug-in to software which is currently available, but would advance the facility available to artists.

“There is software available to artists at present which attempts to do some of this, but it is not as sophisticated as what we are trying to develop,” said McKenna.

The funding award was one of four Commercialisation Awards made recently funded by SE Tayside and RIS. The award provides funding for technologies with strong commercial potential, so they can be developed it to a stage where they are more attractive for further development. This is the first Commercialisation Award to be made in the area of Digital Media.