Fujitsu develops touch-based bridge to the virtual world

Fujitsu Laboratories has announced the development of next-generation user interface technology that enables intuitive, fingertip operations. This new technology can accurately detect where the user's finger is and what it is touching, and uses off-the-shelf cameras and projectors.

This eliminates the need for expensive equipment and overcomes imprecise tracking—issues posed by conventional technologies. It uses the cameras together with a projector to enable a user to trace a finger across a document on a table, copy it as digital data, and display it. This simple interaction with objects makes the technology an interface between people and ICT services.

The features of the new technology include recognizing and converting coordinates of physical objects and ICT equipment. A camera is used to automatically measure irregularly shaped objects on a table and then automatically adjust the coordinate systems for the camera, projector and the actual objects. This makes it possible for the software to take the finger movements and touching of objects made by the user, and then match them with the digital display projected onto physical objects.

Further features include the stabilization of finger recognition technology by recognising the shape of the user's fingers by extracting the fingers' colours and contour features. Other technology controls the colour and lighting of the camera image, depending on the surrounding ambient light, along with technology that corrects for differences among individual fingers. A stable extraction of the form of the user's fingers, one that is minimally impacted by the environment and individual variations, can be obtained.

Finally an accurate and rapid fingertip recognition technology has been developed. By enhancing images of the user's fingertips, the technology is able to obtain a level of precision that is sufficient for touch detection, even using low-resolution images that can be captured on a regular webcam. Moreover, the technology is capable of fingertip tracking speeds of 300 mm per second, thereby enabling it to follow natural finger movements.

Fujitsu Laboratories plans to evaluate the new system and its software applications in real usage environments with the aim of commercialising in fiscal 2014.