A group of Northeastern University’s students took their sweet time to put their plans into action. After a lot of brainstorming and dedicating six months to their dream, they are now here with an Iron man alike robotic arm. No, it doesn’t shoot like the arm of Iron Man, or even like Bucky Barnes’ arm – but it does something even more special than you and I can even fathom. They have named it Gesture Operated Computer Aided Design tool, i.e. goCAD. What it does is helps us to control and manipulate objects in a virtual space with the help of some easy hand gestures. It will be very useful for doctors or school teachers, but ultimately, anyone can use it.
“If Tony Stark can do it in a cave with scraps,” said Kyle Dumont, then he was sure they can do it too – and that, they did.
This goCAD team bagged the third prize in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Capstone Competition. It is a real example of how one could truly make something extraordinary from the ordinary. Microsoft Kinect is utilised in the design, and it helps when the user acts out any of the predefined gestures fed in it. It can prove quite useful for a brain surgeon in a number of tasks, such as moving and rotating a 3D MRI image, for example. Or better yet, a teacher could explain the fundamental functions of calculus with the help of goCAD.
“You start off with what the camera sees, which is everything,” said Samantha Kerkhoff. “Then you determine where the fingertips are, then you determine if they’re moving in a specific pattern, which is a gesture.”
Dumont has made some algorithms that recognise fingertips moving in the void, while AJ Mills incorporated a method to predict the movements of these fingertips. Team Member Sam Herec then fed the machine a way of making the positions of fingertips into identifiable gestures, which Samantha picked and translated into code. Melissa Milner, the last of the group, then wrote this code so that this information can be used by any pre-existing design software, to be put together in the final result.
“Every engineer wants to become a Stark,” Herec stated. “But he’s a pretty bad engineer because he’s fictional. He works on his own and doesn’t let anyone else in.” It is much better, however, according to Andrus, if you work and find solutions to the problems together.