Many homes have large LED TVs and Blu-ray players. This is the current generation of technology deployed in households around the globe. However, all this technology is using old techniques for controlling devices, including remotes and push buttons on the devices themselves. Other personal devices, such as phones and tablets, have moved past the old model of input peripherals and use touchscreens and motion gesture. For example, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have motion-tracking cameras that can utilize gesture recognition to play and control the console, along with speech recognition for additional input.
Not every household will have an Xbox One and motion gesture input. Many companies are aware of this and are planning on creating devices for the sole purpose of gesture and voice recognition. These devices would be attached to televisions or possibly integrated into them during the manufacturing process. One such company is PointGrab. Its PointSwitch product, which uses common gestures to control touchscreen interface devices, will let users control home appliances. The user points a finger at the desired device. The device, tracking the direction of the user's eyes, will find the device, which the user then can control through various gestures. The user could point at a light and then move a hand up or down in order to dim or brighten it. The PointSwitch can detect gestures up to 15 feet away and in the dark.
The device (featured in the video below) is being made to work with appliances such as televisions, door locks, and air conditioning or heating systems. PointGrab is set to debut the product at CES 2014.
The way it looks from where I stand is that gesture controls were simply a gimmick to sell new product and probably are not able to deliver any real benefit aside from being a cool fad. But there are lots of better things to waste ones money on. Once again the marketing weasels and the focus groups advocated a product of very marginal benefit. We would think that mangers could have figured that out in the past 20 years.
JT, I don't play video games but I do read tye articles in Design News, EDN, EE, and NASA T ech Briefs. So it has been clear to me that the cameras in video games could be persuaded to do much better than just gesture recognition. Nobody has stated that, but it is quite clear from the specs. THat is probably provided for some game planned but not yet created.
Aside from that there are all of those smartphones with at least one camera. So it may be that the hackers will be immensely entertained, or possibly horribly bored. I don't anticipate that the average gamer guy would ever do anything that would be interesting to see.
Of course for the hackers it could be a bit like that engineering ethical question that apparently is seldom asked, "Yes, I can do it, BUT SHOULD I?"
Not being a "gamer", that didn't occur to me. You are absolutely right. So, with seeing-eye boxes and outbound transmission capability, consumers will need to be very precautious of this potential capability!
Cable TV set top boxes have had two way communications for quite a while, but mostly that has been haed-wired to do a very limited set of functions. BUT the video games that are set up for mu7ltiple online players are a completely different story. They are far more flexible and they are already set up for tw-way communications from inside the game programs. So they should be simple to hack into, at least "sort of simple" to hack into.
It occurred to me that if the device can see & sense eyes, it could just as easily be a Peeping-Tom and watch peoples full body actions, even easier. The resolution would be less and easier to see the big picture.
But then, when I really think about enabling this kind of system, it becomes clear that such a device would also require a transceiver to upload its spying aquired data. Certainly, these devices are 'receiver-only', and any out-bound transmitter activity could be easily sensed to reveal any criminal peeping activities.
Suspects would be pretty easily detected, I think.
JT, tracking eye motions would not be worth the spying effort, but if that same camera were able to deliver a braoder image it certainly could interest some kinds of snoopers.
My guess is that any exposure of such snooping would be denied by the spin doctors in a real hurry, and those claiming that it was real would be labeled as crackpots in order to deny the actuality of such a technical possibility. After all, a public outrage would cut into profits quite a bit.
William, I'm with you on every point. Unfortunately, I have direct knowledge of those boxes that never really turn off. One of them burned a neighbor's house to the ground back in the 80's. At the time, the feature was considered an innovation, the Instant-On benefit. The fire Marshal's investigation blamed the set-top box.
Regarding my parallel to Space Odyssey; well, I'm just fooling around! But I honestly think the innovation in this article, being the eye-tracking alignment technology is real, is effective, and will be successfully commercialized, quite soon.
And the covert possibility of remote eye-spying is interestingly possible; but if realized, and then publicly exposed, would likely kill the technology in its tracks.
@Jim T Consider that cable box on the TV. After it has been "off" all night it is just as warm as it was after it had ben "on" for a few hours. For many of those boxes all that the on/off switch did was change the display from showing the channel to showing the time. Those boxes were never really off, unless they were plugged into a switched outlet, which is what I did. Why waste 50 watts when not using the TV? Now we have boxes that are far more complex and contain a lot more functionality, who is going to believe that Google is not collecting a lot more data than they admit to collecting? Who can prove anything without a whole lot of research?
I had forgotten about HAL, which there is an interesting technical issue there, since at that time the NTSC video format was not able to deliver adequate resolution for lip reading. But if we suspend disbelief enough to accept HAL, then we can accept a lip reading computer, I suppose.
As manufacturers add new technologies to their products, designing for compliance becomes more difficult. Prepare for the certification testing process. Otherwise, you increase the risk of discovering a safety issue after a product leaves the assembly line. That will cause significant time-to-market delays, be much costlier to fix, and damage your brand in the eyes of customers.
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