Microsoft has applied for a patent for real-time hand-gesturing for tablets and tabletops.
The patent, which was found by Patentbolt, does not say much. It would appear to be the foot in the door for a more detailed future application.
In other words, Microsoft wants to get in quick before someone else patents the idea.
While we have been expecting to see something like the Kinect for tablets and laptops, it seems that Microsoft is not happy enough with the technology.
The application said that object detection and recognition are difficult problems in the field of computer vision. It is jolly difficult to recognise hand poses. But there is also a need to provide simple, accurate, fast and computationally inexpensive methods of both object and gesture recognition for many applications.
Microsoft describes a system that allows the user to drive software displayed on a tablet or projected on a tabletop simply by using hand gestures. TechEye saw similar but early demonstrations from Texas Instruments at last year's Mobile World Congress. At the moment, Microsoft is trying to find ways to accurately determine when the user is hovering a hand above the display, and when the user's hand touches the screen.
The patent said that a random decision forest needs to be trained to enable recognition of hand poses and objects and optionally also whether those hand poses are touching or not touching a display surface.
This random decision forest uses image features such as appearance, shape and optionally stereo image features. After the recognition system has been trained, it can operate in real-time.
The company shows a tablet with a motion-detection camera mounted within a work surface. A camera captures images of the user's hands or other objects positioned between the camera and the display. This system will be incorporated into the tablet and may be set up to classify images captured by the camera.
It might be interesting to see if the system could be applied to Windows 8 tablets.
It was originally filed in December 2011 and made public by the US Patent and Trademark Office just this month.