Gesture Recognition

What Does Gesture Recognition Mean?

Gesture recognition refers to the mathematical interpretation of human motions using a computing device. It is a component of perceptual user interface (PUI). Other popular PUI components are voice recognition, facial recognition, lip movement recognition and eye tracking. Gestures could possibly come from any state or bodily motion; however, they usually originate from the hands or face. At present, gesture recognition is mainly centered on hand-gesture recognition and facial emotion recognition.


In gesture recognition, the human body’s motions are read by a camera and the captured data is sent to a computer. The computer then makes use of this data as input to handle applications or devices.

Gesture recognition may also be referred to as gesture control.

Techopedia Explains Gesture Recognition

Gesture recognition helps computers to understand human body language. This helps to build a more potent link between humans and machines, rather than just the basic text user interfaces or graphical user interfaces (GUIs). These old-fashioned input methods still limit most inputs to mouse and keyboard.

Using gesture recognition, human-machine interactions (HMIs) can be interpreted without the help of any mechanical device. For example, the concept of gesture recognition may be used to move a cursor just by pointing and directing a finger at the computer screen. The potential benefits offered by gesture recognition technology may make standard input devices like the keyboard, mouse and even touch screen obsolete.

Recognizing gestures as input can be very helpful for physically impaired persons. In addition, gesture recognition triggers better, more natural interaction for a 3D virtual world or a gaming environment.

Using a controller with gyroscopes and accelerometers, the gestures of the body and hands can be increased to sense rotation and tilting, as well as movement acceleration. Contrary to haptic interfaces, gesture recognition technology does not demand that the user sport any specific gear or device. The body gestures are read by a camera rather than sensors installed on a device.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.