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ACTIVE (Advanced camera technology In Visual Ergonomics) was a DTI Forsight Vehicle programme funded joint project with Dundee University, Vision Dynamics Ltd. and Daewoo into the use of gesture recognition as a means of interfacing with a vehicle's secondary controls.

There are three key disadvantages to current switch operated methods. They require a rigid dashboard that doesn't flex when pressing switches, but this is undesirable in a crash situation where a softer and more flexible dashboard would be preferable, and it would also be lighter and cheaper. Secondly, dashboard-mounted controls often require the user to re-focus at close quarters and to look away from the road for an undesirable amount of time and distance traveled. Finally, the complexity of wiring and mechanical nature of the various controls and switches can lead to reliability issues.

The ACTIVE project proposed a head-up display, which the driver of the vehicle would point at to operate the vehicle's secondary controls, such as radios, navigation systems, climate controls etc. It was specifically these controls, which could perhaps be seen as distracters from the primary task of driving, that the ACTIVE system was intended to support. The primary controls (such as steering and braking) were felt to benefit from direct physical operation due to their safety critical nature.

The AVRC conducted a number of studies into ergonomic and usability issues, such as the accuracy and mannerisms that could be expected from a wide range of potential users in the act of pointing, or the likely affect on their road-related vigilance whilst doing so. This was important in order to inform the design of the gesture recognition system and user interface developed at Dundee, as with such a system the technical achievement must be matched by appropriate levels of usability for the system to be workable. The end point of this particular project, which was seen as being in the early stages of the system's development, was a 'proof of principal' gesture recognition system using graphical user interface (GUI) on a laptop through which the user could affect control of some secondary controls.


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