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An evaluation of depth camera-based hand pose recognition for virtual reality systems.

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Camera-based hand gesture recognition for interaction in virtual reality systems promises to provide a more immersive and less distracting means of input than the usual hand-held controllers. It is unknown if a camera would effectively distinguish hand poses made in a virtual reality environment, due to lack of research in this area. This research explores and measures the effectiveness of static hand pose input with a depth camera, specifically the Leap Motion controller, for user interaction in virtual reality applications. A pose set was derived by analyzing existing gesture taxonomies and Leap Motion controller-based virtual reality applications, and a dataset of these poses was constructed using data captured by twenty-five participants. Experiments on the dataset utilizing three popular machine learning classifiers were not able to classify the poses with a high enough accuracy, primarily due to occlusion issues affecting the input data. Therefore, a significantly smaller subset was empirically derived using a novel algorithm, which utilized a confusion matrix from the machine learning experiments as well as a table of Hamming Distances between poses. This improved the recognition accuracy to above 99%, making this set more suitable for real-world use. It is concluded that while camera-based pose recognition can be reliable on a small set of poses, finger occlusion hinders the use of larger sets. Thus, alternative approaches, such as multiple input cameras, should be explored as a potential solution to the occlusion problem.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.