Watch the demo video

Atlas Gloves:  A DIY Hand Gesture Interface for Google Earth

Atlas Gloves Demo

May 8th, 2006 May 8th, 2006    10:17am 10:17am
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Here is a short video demonstrating how Atlas Gloves works. There are two channels of video composited on top of each other—one of the physical gestures and the other of a large-scale projection of Google Earth, being controlled by Atlas Gloves.

Note: the video has music, so you may want to press mute if you’re at work

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33 Responses

  1. Future Feeder » Archive » links for 2006-05-12

    […] Atlas Gloves: A DIY Hand Gesture Interface for Google Earth itp google earth interactive video related : [links for 2006-04-30][The Adaptation of my Generation][links for 2006-04-27][Sick / Fascinating Rag-Doll Pinball][links for 2006-05-03][Modulobe: Virtual Creature Simulator][links for 2006-05-01] […]

  2. pepe

    incredible aplication, it looks very well. I will try it when the downloand is ready.

  3. Chris Haller

    This would be great for public meetings around urban planning issues, for example to explore different scenarios. Would love to play around with it!

  4. Robert H.

    Maybe you have thought of this already, but making those lights infrared would make them invisible to us, but visible to most cameras, and thus make it all seem like magic! (Unless you are watching the camera feed, that is.)

  5. 东村吉普赛

    […] Atlas Glove是一个通过用摄像头去识别人的手势然后远程控制Google Earth浏览的互动作品. 作者的想法也非常简单: 平时我们都是用鼠标键盘去操作Google Earth的,如今我们要抛弃鼠标键盘等传统电脑设备, 建立一种新的人机互动的设备. 作者的网站上有整个作品的视频DEMO.(实在太大,不方便下载) […]

  6. Erle

    Great work- an inspiration!
    I’m going to try it out as soon as I can find the time.

  7. what_nick

    Great work … will try and Hack it into Worldwind.
    check out and the Multi touch and Joy stick interfaces.

  8. » Minority Report… creo…

    […] Google Earth es una aplicación de 3D tan bien hecha que uno se olvida de que está viendo una aplicación de 3D. Y es tan fácil de utilizar que su manual conciso de usuario tiene únicamente dos palabras: “Have Fun.” Si unimos la interfase de Minority Report a Google Earth, obtenemos lo siguiente: Atlas Gloves. […]

  9. All in a days work… » Blog Archive » links for 2006-08-01

    […] Atlas Gloves: A DIY Hand Gesture Interface for Google Earth Here is a short video demonstrating how Atlas Gloves works. There are two channels of video composited on top of each other—one of the physical gestures and the other of a large-scale projection of Google Earth, being controlled by Atlas Gloves. (tags: Google_Earth Displays) […]

  10. The Undead Pixel » Blog Archive » Atlas Gloves

    […] Once again, this one works and everybody can play with it, not only Tom Cruise… The demo video is here. […]

  11. Vestal Design Blog » Blog Archive » DIY Software Interaction

    […] […]

  12. designverb

    […] Here are some mini links to make up for the week: - Cute people jewelry!(Jade Gedeon) - Platial: explore and map your world while using the new Sony GPS gadget! - Animated hand drawn lights! - Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design! - Atlas Gloves Demo: DIY minority report interface for $8! - The classic “Powers of Ten” video on youtube. - For fun: Treadmill Dancing at it’s best!!! […]

  13. Mike


    I think the video is not much impressive. C.f. projects like Globe4D or multiuser touchpad controlling GEarth or Warcraft. Simply too boring.

    Another issue is that the “lights” are not native parts of human bodies, so the “controlling interface” has no big chance to become a standard.

    I wish you persuaded me I was wrong.

    Best and sincere wishes,


  14. mushon

    Hi Mike,

    I’m sorry if the Video didn’t impress you, and I agree it can be better editted and maybe even better shot. Having played with the interface a lot i can tell you it is quite fun and encourage you to try it. (follow the instructions)
    We are not planning on uploading a more impressive video soon, but we’re hoping to get some more videos from users that will hopefully impress you more.
    We actually shot the video while using an earlier version of Atlas Gloves and the current downloadable version does work better now.
    Again, I really recommend you impress yourself by building the gloves and judging the project from first (and second) hand.



  15. Dan Phiffer

    Eliminating the lights would be nice, but due to the constraints of the gestures (grabbing and letting go), it would be hard to differentiate between an open hand and a closed hand with the rudimentary video tracking we’re using. Even with more advanced video tracking, we’d still be hindered by the dark room used for projectioning.

    But yeah, in general I’d say we weren’t optimizing for “impressiveness” so much as building something that could be readily replicated without expensive or obscure technology.

  16. her divine shadow - all in one place » i’m a teen distortion

    […] Atlas Gloves is a DIY physical interface for controlling 3D mapping applications like Google Earth. […]

  17. Marcin


    Great stuff and idea to interest childresn at the lessons.
    BTW. What is the name of that music track played at background of movie?


  18. dphiffer

    Oh, yeah I should have credited that in the video. It’s “Kid, You’ll Move Mountains” by Caribou, off the album Up In Flames. At the time it was recorded he was going by the name “Manitoba,” but apparently the Canadian province (of the same name) sued him or something. Great album.

  19. zhaoyf

    It’s great!

  20. John

    Actually it was ‘Handsome Dick Manitoba’ of the proto-punk band the Dictators who sued, for really no other reason than his being a rude, obnoxious twit. :P

  21. John

    Oh I was going to add this link:

    It would be really ironic if the Caribou Coffee chain now took him to court.

  22. Lmd64

    Great video, can’t wait to try this out at home this weekend!

    BTW, the Manitoba/Caribou name change is down to the fact that Handsome Dick Manitoba (real name Richard Blum) from the NYC punk band The Dictators sued Canadian artist Dan Snaith (Manitoba) for breach of copyright for use of the name Manitoba. The Canadian province Manitoba were quite amused by the whole shebang, apparently.
    It’s a great track, whatever name Dan goes under.

  23. Mac Cody

    Very impressive work and video. It gives me ideas for other applications using the Atlas Gloves paradigm.

    I wonder if the Atlas Gloves system would work in a lighted environment if the visible lights in the gloves were replaced with high-power IR LEDs and an IR-only filter were placed in front of the webcam? The IR from the Atlas Gloves would probably far outshine other IR sources in the room.

    Of course, this would probably involve hacking the webcam to remove the IR blocking filter that is usually found in webcams. Another complicating factor is that some sort or indicator would be needed on the Atlas Gloves to indicate that they were on. Anyway, it was just a thought.

  24. Google Earth DIY Glove…COOL! « BikiniZero

    […] […]

  25. mushon

    Hi Mac,

    Glad you liked it. Indeed the IR solution can work and is worth trying. Since we tried to make something simple to produce and execute we went for the easy solution (no webcam hacking included) but you should definitely try that and let us know. (that’s why we kept it opesource, and documented both the phsical interface and the code)
    Check out the forums dedicated to other ideas of what can you do with Atlas Gloves. And again, thanks for the feedbacks,


  26. Emile

    Great, how cool!

    I’m such a huge fan of te UI in Minority report. This is the first step to the future without RSI!!!


  27. Kenny Spy

    Wow! I can’t wait to build my own. Many thanks.

  28. ניימן 3.0 » ארכיון » כדור הארץ בכפות ידיך

    […] לא הבנתם למה אני מתכוון – לא נורא. סרט שווה מליון מילים, אז תסתכלו פה. […]

  29. Joe Catalano

    I love this concept, I’m going to try it out. The IR idea is great and being able to filter the webcam to only see that would let you play with the lights on. I’d love to build a more intuitive device that maybe just slips over your middle finger and isnt so big. Maybe a small glowing disc rather than a ball. Or if you need the size of the ball - how about poking a hole in it and wearing the ball on your fore finger.

    I dont know anything about coding - but see you are opensource - awesome! I think this could be great for a lot of things - this note is to the creator, there is an open source operating system “Archy” which is based on a ZUI (zoom user interface). Check out the demo of it - its awesome, and with your program it would work incredibly.

    Here’s a link about it, there are links to the demo at the end:

    Here’s a link that talks about ZUI and has links to applications that use it:

  30. mushon

    Thanks Jo,

    sounds cool, and please keep us updated in the forum of any developments you might make on Atlas Gloves.



  31. Katie

    That is way spiffy

    In fact, it got me working on some gesture tracking stuff myself using gloves with LEDs on some of the fingertips (though admittedly I’ve wanted to do this ever since seeing Minority Report…)

    For now I’m essentially doing “multi-touch in the air” with one light on each hand, but eventually it will use three lights (thumb, index, middle) per glove.

    I’m using infrared LEDs wired in parallel along with a red “power” LED for the wearer’s benefit. The webcam has an IR-pass filter made from a piece of floppy disk film.

    On the software end, I’m working with OpenCV under Ubuntu. So far, I don’t have much beyond basic tracking, but I’m working on hooking it into MPX.

    Again, very neat stuff and great inspiration!

  32. mushon

    Thanks Katie,
    there is no greater compliment than hearing we got you inspired to create a new thing. Atlas Gloves could definitely have worked better with infrared LEDs or using the Wiimote as camera, but we try to keep it as simple and accessible as possible.
    Please keep us posted on your development, and send some images or vids if you can.

    thanks and good luck,

  33. UXDimensions Usability Testing and Evalution

    This is fantastic. Can’t wait to start experimenting.