Andy Wilson, from Microsoft Research, has created a pretty impressive new way to interact with your computer, using very basic equipment and some very smart software coding. He's managed to use a standard webcam ("like $US30," he says) and custom software to get the cam to recognise the shapes and movement of only his hands. It's a bit like the Wiimote hack, but already working with programs like Google Earth.
The webcam is trained to separate the foreground (hands) from the background (in this case, Andy's keyboard), which makes it much easier to identify different shapes made by his fingers. He can then move the cursor, click, and use two hands to perform more complex motions like stretching and pulling. He doesn't get into too much detail, partly because he has to constantly remind whoever's filming that no, this isn't magic, and no, there isn't a little person under his desk secretly making the cursor move on the screen.
The demo is really impressive for how simple Andy makes it all seem, and it'd be great to see what else he can do from this base. [MAKE]