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TALKING HANDS

How Kinemic GmbH, a spin-off from KIT, wants to revolutionize industrial processes with gesture control software.



What was considered a vision of the future in science fiction films 20 years ago is now reality: data glasses on which virtual graphics can be superimposed on the user's field of vision are ubiquitous and have meanwhile also found their way into industrial halls. With the help of augmented reality applications, mechanics can, for example, call up assembly or repair instructions without having to leave their workplace. However, controlling the glasses via small buttons on the side is problematic, especially if users have to wear gloves when working in clean rooms, handling hazardous materials or in extreme environments. While voice control is an alternative, it is often not possible due to ambient noise or data security issues.

This is precisely where Kinemic comes in. Founded in March 2016, the KIT spin-off enables a new form of hands-free human-computer interaction through wearable-based gesture control software. Using the motion sensors of a smartwatch or smart bracelet, the rate of rotation and acceleration of the wrist is recorded. An intelligent algorithm detects whether or which gesture was performed and issues the appropriate command. "Swiping gestures allow the user to navigate through menus, while turning the hand stands for Enter, for example. Customers can determine for themselves exactly what each gesture means," says CEO Christoph Amma,Ph.D., who created an important element of the Kinemic software with his doctorate: an air-writing system that makes it possible to write letters in the air and have them digitized by the computer. Together with Marcus Georgi, Fabian Winnen and Tomt Lenz, Kinemic was then founded in March 2016.

Admittedly, the idea of gesture control is not a new one in the age of Industry 4.0. But the team at Kinemic has found a new solution: Other systems rely on camera-based gesture control. Here, however, the camera is permanently installed in one place, making it impossible to move freely around the room. "Our approach, on the other hand, allows for easy integration into the workflow", explains Lenz. "It's a clear step forward in terms of use, making processes even more efficient and convenient." The hand replaces computer mouse and keyboard. Gestures instead of clicks. Users who work with checklists, for example, no longer have to run to a terminal after each work step, but can conveniently confirm with a gesture.

The founders presented their technology to the public for the first time at CeBIT 2016, where Angela Merkel was a prominent visitor at the stand. Not only was the Chancellor interested, but numerous pilot customers also took notice of the young start-up. To enable customers to create individual solutions, Kinemic is planning to release a software development kit (SDK) in 2017. In doing so, they want to provide their users with a set of gestures that can be added to at any time and adapted to the individual area of application. "We will then be available to customers as consultants and usability experts", says Lenz.

Further Links

Sources: KIT

 

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