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Blender meets Minority Report: Helsinki University of Technology


The HandsOn project of the Department of Media Technology at the Helsinki University of Technology is researching optical tracking and 3D user interfaces for modeling and animation. They make heavy use of Blender to test new concepts in user interaction in virtual 3D environments, and have published videos of their work so far.

From their website:

The goal is to develop new intuitive and natural bimanual interfaces for creative tasks. Accessibility of the results is also considered, we are aiming at developing solutions that can easily be taken into a use outside the laboratory and run on commodity hardware.

Bimanual 3D User Interfaces for Modeling

Traditionally 3D modeling has been done using two dimensional user interface build on keyboard, mouse and monitor setup. In HandsOn project we are designing and implementing novel 3D interfaces that allow designers to shape virtual objects in fully three dimensional work space.

Animation in 3D Virtual Environments

The goal of the HandsOn animation research is to study the area between full-body motion tracking and desktop interface. The initial idea has been that the animation could be done with different hand gestures in 3D virtual environment.


About the project

In HandsOn project the research is carried out by several universities. In addition to Helsinki University of Technology, also Tampere University of Technology and The University of Art and Design Helsinki are participating in the reseach work, and project is mainly funded by Tekes, which is a Finnish research funding institute. Helsinki University of Technology has a leading role in administrating and planning the research and the work concerning Blender is mainly done there.

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Intense. To think one day my great grand children will be taught with these types of smart-boards.

    Okay my brother's grandchildren but that's unimportant.

    Nice, very nice. It does build hopes for the same general interface that we saw in Minority Report. Or Stargate Atlantis that one time.

  2. I already contacted the site owner to see if he can get the site back up again. As it's hosted at the university they were quite confident that they could withstand the Blender community tsunami :)

  3. Oh man, that is so cool. Can I buy their computer the way it is, w/ the gloves, and a few thousand tutorials to start e up?
    Oh man.......
    It's amazing, our kids, kids, kids will have this tech right at their doorstep.

  4. that is neat. ;) wonder how useful a 3d workspace would be though - it might be difficult to be accurate in your gestures, etc. But the concept, if achieved, is quit intriguing.

    bravo. :)

  5. And cost of such goodness will be? For me it's too exhausting for user. xD Also where to put such interface? Bedroom? Maybe at the attic?

  6. @Aka: it's research, not a commercial product. Besides, everyone knows that in a few years from now you'll just jack a plug into the base of your skull and enter virtual reality this way.

  7. And that's not all! Self-organizing Organic Light-Emitting Diode screens are only a few years away. Entire walls as screens--better that LCDs--will be the norm in five years or less. I predicted this about two years ago, if you check my posts. Blender will be the leader in any emerging 3d technology. Do you think AutoDesk is going to knock themselves out to keep up with this? They're as stodgy as Microsoft, and not nearly as rich.

  8. @Zinc Chameleon (says this in darth vader like voice) "if you only knew the power of the cash cow that is Autocad(monopoly is not what they have done in the 3d world its what they have done in 2d cad, luckily solidedge keeps them honest in the solid modeling department)" back on topic this sounds really interesting though for me it reminded me more of tony starks designing the iron man suit.

    p.s. the are also car companys that use cave technology when designing their cars am truly intrigued

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