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UseYourHead is designed on the principle that more controllers are better than fewer controllers. We all have keyboards and mice — some of us even have specialized programmable controllers as well. But no matter what you have, you still only have two hands, and you’ll lose reaction time moving them between extra controllers — time that might be the difference between success and failure in your game!
With UseYourHead, you can assign just about any keyboard command you want to have easily accessible to your head motions. Duck slightly to the sides to dive sideways in your game to avoid enemy fire, raise your chin a little to “look” upward to see that plane above you, or save that term paper you’ve been working on all night automatically when your head drops too far, in case you fall asleep. With full control of how sensitive UseYourHead is, and ability to map to any keyboard command, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
And it’s easy, too. Just start UseYourHead, choose or load the commands and sensitivity you want, then start your other program as usual. UseYourHead uses very little processor power (and you can control how much it does, too!), so it won’t make your favorite games unplayable.
UseYourHead Technology Tidbits
UseYourHead tracks basic head motions (left, right, up, down), not rotational head motions (twisting). A device requiring you to take your eyes off the screen would be inappropriate for a PC gaming environment.
UseYourHead converts these head movements into user definable keystrokes. In effect, it acts like a second keyboard. This simple implementation allows it to work well with almost all existing games (virtually any game that accepts keyboard input). Additionally, game developers will be able to directly integrate support for UseYourHead (through use of a DirectInput wrapper) to allow a more continuous motion. Any game developers interested in this are invited to contact us directly.
Imagine your screen as a window into the virtual world — as you try to peer around a corner, the game smoothly shifts to give you the correct perspective. Even more interesting, game developers can use our tech to access more complicated gestures. For instance, you could have a D&D-like; game which allows for the casting of spells. With our gesture recognition technology, such a game could require players to make gestures directly with their hands (Somatic spell components anyone?), with better effects resulting from a better gesture performance.
UseYourHead is purely “optical” — the user is not required to attach anything to their head. The software is able to track the user’s head solely with the output from a USB camera, so there is no need to attach dots or sensors to their head, making it a head tracking system which is unlike previous head tracking products.
UseYourHead isn’t meant to replace the keyboard, mouse, or joystick. Instead it gives you an additional and unobtrusive device to be used in parallel with other input devices. It basically gives you the effect of a third hand.
The technology for UseYourHead is based on Cybernet’s Patent Pending Gesture Recognition and Tracking technology. This technology was originally developed through various military and government Research and Development contracts with NASA, ARMY Research Institute and STRICOM. The full gesture recognition system is capable of identifying dynamic (such as waving) and static (such as thumbs up) gestures. These gestures can be performed by any object including hands, heads, feet, or other objects.
This system has been used to create kiosks that are controlled without any physical devices. You simply place your hand in a specified area and it becomes the mouse, giving you the ability to move and click with simple hand motions and gestures. Additionally, we have integrated this system into virtual reality simulators used to train soldiers in combat maneuvers. These maneuvers include the generation of gestures for directing other soldiers.
Cybernet’s gesture recognition system was originally developed on a FreeBSD Unix platform, but was ported to Windows during the development of UseYourHead.
UseYourHead is Cybernet’s first commercial product based on our gesture recognition technology. We designed something simple, basic, yet useful. We originally intended it almost entirely for the first person shooter market, because we recognized that the basic motions most people make when playing those games is to weave, duck, or try to peer around corners, over ledges — i.e., head tracking. However, we soon realized that it was useful for all kinds of other PC games as well. An important aspect added for this product was getting it to work as fast as possible with the relatively slow web cams and have it be easily integrated into any Microsoft Windows game.
Cybernet is already developing additional products based on this technology and has plans for releasing these more powerful and exciting products in the near future.
Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about UseYourHead, or the technology behind it.
As much as we’d like it to, UseYourHead doesn’t work with every platform, camera, and operating system out there. Right now, here’s what you need to run UseYourHead:
- A computer running Windows 98 or ME.
- At least a 333Mhz Pentium II processor or equivalent (though we really recommend at least a 500Mhz one).
- A USB PC camera with at least a 40 degree field of view and Video for Windows compatibility (see our list and notes, below).
- At least 64 MB of RAM.
- 10 MB free hard drive space.
- A CD-ROM — unless you buy the download version!
- A video card — the better you have, the more it helps.
UseYourHead is compatible with any USB camera that supports Video for Windows. While most USB cameras support this standard, a few do not. Therefore we have provided a list of cameras that we have verified to be compatible with UseYourHead and a short list of those that are not currently compatible. This list is not an endorsement of any particular camera, and cameras not listed here (even non USB versions) may work just fine with UseYourHead — but we haven’t tested them yet, so try them at your own risk!
Cameras verified to be compatible:
- 3Com Home Connect USB camera
- AlphaCam USB camera
- Creative Labs USB camera
- Ezonics (all USB versions)
- Hawking Technology (all USB versions)
- IBM (all USB versions)
- Intel (all USB versions)
- Lego Mindstorms Vision Command USB camera
- Logitech (all USB versions)
- Phillips (all USB versions)
- PineCam Z100 SurfCam USB camera
Current cameras with which we are not compatible:
- Kensington brand cameras
- Kodak brand cameras
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