Wednesday, April 2, 2014

From color gloves to tiny cameras: 3Gear raises $1.9M

We started 3Gear Systems with the singular goal of creating a gesture recognition system that actually works. We've been disappointed by what's currently available, and felt that with our backgrounds, we could build something a lot better—something reliable enough and powerful enough to become a basic part of interacting with a computer. Since we founded the company in March 2012, we've stayed lean and 100% focused on solving the hard computer vision and human-computer interaction problems involved in building the world's best gesture recognition technology.

Our latest work uses a tiny front-facing depth camera to precisely track a user's gestures
MIT thesis work on color gloves Original two-Kinect hand tracker Single depth camera,
arbitrary gestures

What started as a project from one of our co-founder's PhD work at MIT, evolved into a system that used two Kinect cameras set on a gantry-like frame, to one that used a single camera, to one that now uses a tiny camera that sits on your laptop or beneath your monitor. When we started, our technology could track a hand in six poses and required fifteen minutes to calibrate each new user. Today our system can track arbitrary 10-finger gestures and takes under a second to calibrate. Lastly, we've designed a catalog of gestures around activities our users care about, including browsing the web, watching videos, playing games and manipulating 3D models.

We're proud to announce today that we've raised $1.9M in a seed round led by K9 Ventures, with participation from Intel Capital, CrunchFund, Ovo Fund (Eric Chen), Safa Rashtchy and others. We're excited about the progress we've made with our technology, but are even more excited about what the future holds as we begin building our technology into consumer products.

We're growing our team. Come join us to build a more powerful way to interact with computers.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

State of Gesture: New release (v0.9.32), PrimeSense acquisition, pmdtec partnership, new camera support

A lot has happened in the past four months: we've made huge improvements to the tracking quality and stability; PrimeSense got acquired by Apple; we entered into a partnership with pmdtec; and, we're broadening support to new cameras.

New release (v0.9.32)

Above: Our latest release offers significantly more robust tracking
First things first: we're releasing a new version of our SDK today (v0.9.32). It's got plenty of improvements, but the biggest one is significantly more robust tracking. You'll notice a lot less flip-flopping of rotations, and a lot more rock-solid hand position / orientation tracking. In addition, we upgraded support to the latest PrimeSense firmware / OpenNI, lowered the latency on PrimeSense and Asus sensors, and expanded the API to include finger joint angles. This release also combines the previous GesturalApps and GesturalUserInterface packages into a single (smaller!) package -- which we call Nimble SDK. Please give it a try, and let us know what you think.
Download v0.9.32 now

PrimeSense acquisition

After months of rumors, Apple acknowledged its acquisition of PrimeSense (who made the first Microsoft Kinect, Asus Xtion and Carmine sensors) on November 24th. (Congratulations PrimeSense!) Unfortunately, this means won't be able to supply the Carmine 1.09 short-range cameras for our DevKit anymore, although the Asus and Kinect cameras are still widely available. Even before the acquisition, we started investigating other sensors and partnerships with other sensor makers. One of these sensor makers is a small German company called pmdtec technologies...

pmdtec partnership

Today, we're happy to announce a partnership with pmdtec technologies to deploy our gesture tracking middleware and applications on their (impressively tiny and accurate) sensor. Together, our finger-tracking software and pmdtec's hardware combine to form the Nimble UX platform. We're targeting consumer applications for this platform, including browser control, image and 3D manipulation. While the target customers of the platform are PC OEMs, let us know if you're interested in developing for the platform, and we'll try to get you a developer kit.
Image credit: Engadget. Our partnership with pmdtec puts us on their impressively small and accurate sensors.

New camera support coming soon!

In addition to continuing support for all PrimeSense (Carmine, Asus Xtion, Kinect 360, Kinect for Windows) cameras and the new pmdtec (Pico S, Pico XS) sensors, we're investigating support for the SoftKinetic / Creative cameras and the new Kinect for Windows. Let us know which of these cameras is most interesting to you.
As always, feel free to drop us a line at We're always open to suggestions for new features and improvements that would help you.
Wishing you a happy new year,
The 3Gear Team