Continuous Motion Numeral Recognition Using RNN Architecture in Air-Writing Environment

  • Adil RahmanEmail author
  • Prasun Roy
  • Umapada Pal
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12046)


Air-writing, defined as character tracing in a three dimensional free space through hand gestures, is the way forward for peripheral-independent, virtual interaction with devices. While single unistroke character recognition is fairly simple, continuous writing recognition becomes challenging owing to absence of delimiters between characters. Moreover, stray hand motion while writing adds noise to the input, making accurate recognition difficult. The key to accurate recognition of air-written characters lies in noise elimination and character segmentation from continuous writing. We propose a robust and hardware-independent framework for multi-digit unistroke numeral recognition in air-writing environment. We present a sliding window based method which isolates a small segment of the spatio-temporal input from the air-writing activity for noise removal and digit segmentation. Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) show great promise in dealing with temporal data and is the basis of our architecture. Recognition of digits which have other digits as their sub-shapes is challenging. Capitalizing on how digits are commonly written, we propose a novel priority scheme to determine digit precedence. We only use sequential coordinates as input, which can be obtained from any generic camera, making our system widely accessible. Our experiments were conducted on English numerals using a combination of MNIST and Pendigits datasets along with our own air-written English numerals dataset (ISI-Air Dataset). Additionally, we have created a noise dataset to classify noise. We observe a drop in accuracy with increase in the number of digits written in a single continuous motion because of noise generated between digit transitions. However, under standard conditions, our system produced an accuracy of 98.45% and 82.89% for single and multiple digit English numerals, respectively.


Air writing Handwritten character recognition Human-computer interaction Long short term memory Recurrent Neural Network 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information TechnologyHeritage Institute of TechnologyKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition UnitIndian Statistical InstituteKolkataIndia

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