Rachna Bagde

Who want to wear those hefty headsets when you can get a virtual tour of your favorite hotel suites with hand gestures. In this story, I will be writing about a possibly one-of-its-kind merger of Gesture Recognition Technology with Virtual Reality. And this is built to experience VR content without hardware.

This amazing state of the art technology is developed by a 20-year-old M.Tech student Rachna Bagde. G for Gestures, as the name sounds, was initially a college project idea. The aim was to attempt achieving the concept of controlling a virtual space using hand gestures.

After successful implementation, Rachna realized the huge potential of this technology. She then launched her very first virtual reality product for hotel suites named “The Hotel Suite Virtual Tour“.

How does it work?

A body sensor is used. The user stands in front of the sensor and moves his hands with some natural gestures. And the sensor enables the picking up of the motion to move things in the virtual world. The user can take the virtual tour of all the available suites of the hotel while exploring the interior, traveling through different rooms and experiencing the outside view. And he can get a virtual essence of the suite before making booking decisions.

The sensor is usually placed in front of the display screen so that the user can stand in the range of 0.8m to 5m in order to allow the sensor to properly track the body and gestures. The sensors are made available by Microsoft for commercial use. Setting up the system and maintaining it over the long run is an add-on service from the company.

All about the product

The software is based on a licensing system. G for Gestures, the startup, develops the software for the clients and then installs it into the system. Additionally, the client also avails benefits of a Kinect Sensor and the 3-D virtual world content as per their requirements.

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Rachna along with her team creates the virtual reality content for the client and customizes it based on the needs and requirements of the hotels. The price includes the software development cost and the sensor costs. Starting at ₹60,000 the price can go further based on complication, design, and details.

Rachna also plans to target the automobile sector apart from hospitality sector as similar products can be used by the automotive sector to give a virtual tour of the interior, engine, and exterior of automobiles.

The investor approach

Rachna comes out from Nagpur in Maharashtra, and studies at the 4th year of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Gwalior. She is pursuing a dual degree course in information technology. During her internship at a Pune-based startup, she was introduced to use cases of controlling a robotic arm via hand gestures.

She worked for a month and kept exploring the uses and applications of hand gesture technology. Finally, she came up with the idea of implementing the same in the virtual reality space.

“The only thing that is keeping a lot of users in India from VR experiences is the necessity of hardware. Here’s where I thought I could make a difference. Our solution includes a body sensor along with VR content. Unlike other gesture technology ventures, our product is flexible and easy to use. As the user stands in front of the sensor, he is able to easily calibrate the product with his natural hand movements,” Rachna said to YourStory.

Rachna pitched the project idea to various investors, and that impressed Jatin Shah, an angel investor based out of Melbourne. He decided to fund it given that the company should be launched as soon as the application of the technology is successful.

Gesture technology market

Gesture recognition is the science of computers understanding human interpretation and thereby bridging the gap between intelligent machines and humans.

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There are various Indian companies and projects which are already disruptors in this segment and using it for the good. The market for gesture recognition products is expected to touch about $22 billion by 2020 and Asia-Pacific is the leader in the touch-less Biometric sector.

America holds some cool startups in the space including Flutter App which lets a user control music on various software like VLC, QuickTime and Windows Media Player by integrating hand gesture recognition using your existing webcam. And last year, Google acquired this YCombinator-incubated startup.

According to a recently released TechSci Research report, the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)market in India are projected to register a CAGR of 55.3 percent during the 2016 – 2021 period.

Future plans

Rachna is planning to expand the applications to interactive product launches, automotive displays and advertising for now, along with the entertainment sector. She aims to expand the startup to become the best in Virtual Reality space and grow as the best Virtual Reality service provider.