On touch screen devices, there appears to have evolved a standard set of gestures, e.g.

  • pinch and spread with two fingers for zoom in and zoom out
  • swipe with one finger to scroll a document

We're developing a (we'd like to think) minority-report style user interface using the kinect.

What UI gestures could possibly be used be used for a kinect-like device?

For example, to accomplish a click, we have considered the following:

  • elbow joint flexion angle delta: extension=>mouseDown flexion=>mouseUp
  • distance of hand from camera: closer=>mouseDown further=>mouseUp
  • hand size: handInFist=>mouseDown handOpen=>mouseUp

Completely brand new/ off-the-beaten-track/ innovative suggestions are welcome!!

  • Is there a reason why you can't reasonably apply the "hold hand over target for n seconds" gesture Microsoft uses?
    – Kit Grose
    Oct 26, 2012 at 4:18
  • @KitGrose yes - not responsive enough fir the sorts of apps that we are thinking of developing
    – bguiz
    Nov 21, 2012 at 11:24

2 Answers 2


Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox had an article about first impressions of Kinect gestural UI. One could observe a few different implementations and ideologies for gestures there, varying by the application. The article is about game UIs, so it might not suit as such to your case but gives good tips, anyhow.

Some thoughts about gesture UIs:

  • Pros
    • no need for a controlling device
    • multi-user possibilities
  • Cons
    • users have to memorize gestures (if they are not shown on screen)
    • no universal gestures (yet)
    • no (haptic) feedback
    • possible accidental activation of gestures
  • +1 @Jawa : Thanks for the answer - would you happen to have any further resources that for example list various gestures used (in a non-game context)?
    – bguiz
    Mar 2, 2011 at 23:23

In the time since first inquired, Microsoft has released their official SDK (now up to v1.6): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindows/

Included with the SDK is a Developer Toolkit package, which includes two items that would be of interest to this question:

  1. Human Interface Guidelines documentation for Kinect for Windows applications
  2. BasicInteractions-WPF example application, which demonstrates the above guidelines in action.

The toolkit can be downloaded here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindows/develop/developer-downloads.aspx

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