NICH: a preliminary theoretical study on Natural Interaction applied to Cultural Heritage contexts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


Gesture-based interaction constitutes a new paradigm in human-machine interaction. The possibility to control a technical system with gestures on surfaces or in mid air makes it possible to design user interfaces that go beyond the WIMP paradigm (Windows Icons Menus and Pointers), the dominating interaction paradigm since the 1970's. After mainly having been of interest in the human-computer interaction and
VR research communities, gesture-based interaction is now
quickly becoming part of main-stream applications, thanks to
low cost solutions such as Microsoft Kinect and Leap Motion
Controller. Gesture-based interaction has proved useful for
cultural heritage applications in, for example, a museum or a
heritage site since this type of interaction removes the need for
physical input devices that might be complicated to use or
difficult to maintain. However, the application of gesture-based
interaction in the heritage domain is still in an experimental
phase. When asking a visitor to interact using gestures, we need
to take into consideration what are natural gestures for him/her
based on, for example nationality, and culture. Some VR projects
using gesture-based interaction (Etruscanning, Giotto's "Rule
Approval", Livia's Villa) and also some experiments for objects
manipulation have been made by VHLab of CNR ITABC in the
last three years. The team became aware about the potentialities
and the limits of the actual technologies, the cognitive and
perceptive reactions of the users, the need to organize cultural
contents in a different way because cultural transmission is
strongly influenced by this new paradigm of interaction. The
good reaction of the public of museums shows how promising this
perspective is and encourages us to go further, starting an
extensive mapping of "natural" communication gestures to
interact within VR applications. The paper investigates what is
perceived as “natural” gestures in different countries and
cultures for controlling a computer application. It presents the
ideas behind and preliminary data from an ongoing study that
aims at exploring what is considered proper gestures for cultural
heritage applications in three different countries: Sweden, Italy
and Egypt.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • virtual museum, gesture-based interaction, communication, museum, natural interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication[Host publication title missing]
PublisherIEEE--Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch
Event1st Digital Heritage International Congress - Marseilles, France
Duration: 2013 Oct 282013 Nov 1


Conference1st Digital Heritage International Congress