When I was a kid, TV remotes essentially had a handful of buttons for on, off, volume control, and the channel selector. That was it. But as TVs became more sophisticated and programming choices expanded beyond 3 networks and a gaggle of local channels, the remote control became larger and more complicated. Eventually, it became not only programmable, but some are quite expensive (on the order of up to $1,000 or more). The problem is that programmable all in one remotes that can handle your TV, Cable box, even Internet access have buttons that just never get used. Now researchers are seeking to change with GestureTek, a camera mounted on the TV which translates your hand movements into TV remote control functions.
Today’s TVs are more like computers than what our fathers would call “the boob tube,” and as such, having an interface that works like a mouse is more practical. GestureTek turns your hand into a mouse interface and interprets hand movements like mouse controls. It’s like a scene out of Minority Report. Users will simply maneuver the on screen cursor to the menu item, click it with a flick and select it. Or move the channel up or down with the channel overlay. And built in programming language prevents the TV from reading conflicting hand gestures and thereby eliminates the possibility of siblings fighting over the TV.
Cool video here.
No word on when gesture based remotes will be incorporated into HDTV designs, but Hitachi is quite interested in the gesture based remote-less TV option and approached the company that makes GestureTek with the idea of a TV camera that reads depth and hand gestures to control it. If they can keep the price down (depth cameras, which are the heart of the system cost about 3 times more than webcams) on incorporating GestureTek, it could be sooner, rather than later.
Hat Tip – Crave