Research Output
Hand Gesture Discrimination with Passive Infrared Sensor Arrays
  Gesture recognition is a natural way of non-verbal communication for humans. However it is technically challenging to capture the relatively undefined movement of body parts in free space and also extract the intended gestures. Many existing technologies are based on camera image tracking or more recently research also focuses around the newly available cameras with added depth sensing. Meanwhile, the activity in sensor-based solutions for gesture sensing is only beginning to develop - to date mostly with active emitter-received configurations.
This thesis explores the application of a first Passive Infrared Sensor Array to the recognition of 2D directional hand gestures in four main directions – up, down, left, and right, at distances up to 20 cm away from the Gesture Capture Device. The development of a video based motion characterisation experimental setup as well as sensor performance evaluation hardware and software suite are covered. The design and implementation of sensor arrays in a package with pinhole optics as well as the algorithms for analysing the detector signals for directional information are detailed.
Results of motion characterisation are presented, including hand speed and height ranges, as well as deviations from the main gesturing direction depending on speeds of gesturing. A better understanding is formed around the nature of hand swipes as input signals to a sensing device. The measurement methods are applied together with the sensor hardware to provide ground truth for detection performance evaluation in a participant study.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    30 June 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    004 Data processing & computer science

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Wojtczuk, P. Hand Gesture Discrimination with Passive Infrared Sensor Arrays. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Hand gesture recognition system; thermal infrared sensor array; input device; dynamic hand gesture.

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