Sunday, March 16, 2008

Laser Tracking with webcam for Human-Computer Interaction

This post should have been written two months ago, in January, but with all sorts of things keeping me busy, I just couldn't get enough time to shoot videos and write about the project. Anyway, now that I do have time (and a video), here's what the whole thing's about: While writing an email to Scott Hanselman on January 29th, 2007, I thought - Wouldn't it be cool if I could control my mouse cursor with a laser pointer, and even draw things with it. I had tried doing something similar in 2006, but it had some serious speed issues. This time, after rewriting the code and introducing some neat image processing techniques, the code is much faster than before. I was surprised that I had a working prototype within 3-4 days of coding.

The idea is pretty much similar to Johnny Lee's Wii Whiteboard project, except that I'm using a webcam instead of a Nintendo Wii remote. The program uses the webcam to track a laser dot in its FOV. With a projector, you can select its projected area, and the program would map its coordinates to your screen. Then, for opening a file, you'd just have to point on the file with a laser pointer and your computer would open it for you!

Oh, and by the way, while sending my next email to Scott, I didn't use a mouse for clicking the "Send" button. :)

Source code and details coming soon!