Towards Robust Tracking with an Unreliable Motion Sensor Using Machine Learning

Wu, Jiayue and Rau, Mark and Zhang, Yun and Zhou, Yijun and Wright, Matt

Proceedings of the International Conference on New Interfaces for Musical Expression

This paper presents solutions to improve reliability and to work around challenges of using a Leap Motion; sensor as a gestural control and input device in digital music instrument (DMI) design. We implement supervised learning algorithms (k-nearest neighbors, support vector machine, binary decision tree, and artificial neural network) to estimate hand motion data, which is not typically captured by the sensor. Two problems are addressed: 1) the sensor cannot detect overlapping hands 2) The sensor’s limited detection range. Training examples included 7 kinds of overlapping hand gestures as well as hand trajectories where a hand goes out of the sensor’s range. The overlapping gestures were treated as a classification problem and the best performing model was k-nearest neighbors with 62% accuracy. The out-of-range problem was treated first as a clustering problem to group the training examples into a small number of trajectory types, then as a classification problem to predict trajectory type based on the hand’s motion before going out of range. The best performing model was k-nearest neighbors with an accuracy of 30%. The prediction models were implemented in an ongoing multimedia electroacoustic vocal performance and an educational project named Embodied Sonic Meditation (ESM).