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GestureTek’s Revolutionary 3D Camera Tracking and Multi-Touch Systems Power ‘Space Fantasy’ Ride at Universal Studios Japan


Related: GestureTek Launches New ‘Plug and Play’ Interactive Projection System, Multi-Touch Table and 3D Tracker at IAAPA Attractions Expo / GestureTek Showcases Multi-Touch / Multi-Point Interactive Display Innovations for Science Centers at ASTC Show 

Universal Studios Japan takes visitors on a ride into the future of entertainment with GestureTek’s patented 3D depth-sensing and multi-touch technology, used in the new multi-million dollar ‘Space Fantasy’ attraction.

"Space Fantasy is the first theme park ride to venture into 3D depth-tracking rider experiences, " says Vincent John Vincent, President of GestureTek. "With GestureTek’s world-first use of multi-touch and 3D tracking in a ride environment, we have taken our 3D gesture tracking invention to the next level and raised the bar for everyone in 3D gesture control space."

Using 3D cameras that scan the surrounding environment and detect movement, GestureTek created an innovative and exciting way for guests to interact in free space with dynamic multi-media imagery in the pre-ride area. On the actual ride, GestureTek’s touch-free multi-touch interface adds a collaborative element to the rider experience, so that guests can interact together with on-screen elements while working towards a common goal.

"Our immersive gesture control systems are the inspiration for the technology behind Kinect, so it’s fitting that GestureTek has taken this capability from the home to the public, " said Vincent John Vincent.

GestureTek’s award winning interactive gesture-control technology was used in two different parts of the attraction.

Pre-ride area: Space Entities Engage with Passers-By, Reacting to Users’ Movements and Gestures

Visitors line up next to 85 feet of motion-driven ‘Harmony Walls’ designed to provide a unique and engaging interactive experience. Using an array of 22 integrated 3D depth cameras, 13 projection systems, a custom-designed tracker and 16 rack-mounted quad-core computers, GestureTek created an intelligent, vision-equipped environment where the heads of up to 66 guests and 132 hands can be tracked. The system’s tracking capabilities track an entire audience and their specific gestures, providing visitors with the ultimate interactive experience.

GestureTek managed the creation of fun custom content featuring animated intergalactic ‘sun fairies’ that tumble, fly, lead visitors and scatter in reaction to visitors’ movements and gestures. "Our 3D tracking system can be configured to respond to a broad range of one-handed or two-handed gestures, including swipes, circular motions, pokes, waves and more, " said Francis MacDougall, GestureTek’s Chief Technology Offer.  "The Space Fantasy attraction primarily utilizes intuitive pointing gestures, to guarantee easy and immediate user interaction, with no learning curve."

Riders Collect ‘Star Dust’ To Save the Sun

As part of the ride, GestureTek’s multi-touch software and custom-designed camera array powers an interactive experience where, for the first time ever, riders can control content on the screens around them, simply by gesturing with their arms.

The premise of the Space Fantasy ride is the impending death of the sun. As guests travel by cart up a 98 foot in-ride climbing tunnel lined with Barco LED display tiles, they can collect energy from the ‘Stardust Clouds, ‘ that will be used to re-energize the sun.

"The tunnel ride is the first ‘in-ride’ device-free interaction that we have seen, " said MacDougall. "GestureTek is one of a very few organizations possessing the in-depth knowledge of cameras, infrared and multi-touch required to isolate multiple hand movements while ride cars are in motion."

GestureTek was selected for this project because of their unique skills and experience in large projects involving camera-based multi-touch and 3D vision. Working with the leadership and vision of Matt Jones, Project Director at Universal Studios, the Space Fantasy attraction was brought to life and will leave a lasting impression on all who experience it.


GestureTek®, founded in 1986, is the inventor and pioneer in computer vision control and gesture recognition systems for presentation, information and entertainment systems. We dramatically improve the user experience with intelligent devices by revolutionizing the interface to information and interactive media. With patented single camera, multiple camera and 3D-vision solutions, GestureTek’s video gesture control technology lets people use hand and body motions to control dynamic computer content on any screen, interactive surface or camera-enabled device – with no need to wear, hold or touch anything special. GestureTek also offers immersive and multi-touch gesture-based products. In the past 20 years, GestureTek has delivered over 4, 000 interactive solutions for location-based entertainment facilities, public spaces, corporate locations, retail stores, hospitality venues, device manufacturers and game developers. Selected customers and licensees include Panasonic, Microsoft, Samsung, Sanyo, Sony, Nokia, IBM and Intel. The company has offices in Sunnyvale, California; Toronto and Ottawa, Canada; and Asia. Learn more at or call (800) 315-1189 or (416) 340-9290.

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