The Microsoft Research division continues to work on motion gesture recognition projects similar to the company's efforts with Kinect for its Windows and Xbox platforms.

In a blog post, Microsoft talks about how researchers at its UK labs are working on new tools, called Handpose, for hand gesture recognition for use with a virtual reality headset:

The system, still a research project for now, can track detailed hand motion with a virtual reality headset or without it, allowing the user to poke a soft, stuffed bunny, turn a knob or move a dial. What's more, the system lets you see what your hands are doing, fixing a common and befuddling disconnect that happens when people are interacting with virtual reality but can't see their own hands.

A similar project is being worked on at Microsoft's Advanced Technologies Lab in Israel. It's goal is to replace PC mouse movements with hand and finger gestures. The team recorded millions of hand images and then used that data to come up with every single possible hand pose or motion:

The goal of the research project, called Project Prague, would be to provide developers with basic hand gestures, such as the one that switches a computer off. And it also makes it easy for developers to create customized gestures for their own apps or other products, with very little additional programming or expertise. The system, which utilizes machine learning to train systems to recognize motions, runs using a retail 3D camera.

The team hopes that the tools created for Project Prague could be used by apps so users can, say. flip through pages of a PowerPoint presentation by using their hands movements.