With Movea’s new technology, viewers will be able to change channels, adjust the volume, rewind a movie, browse the Internet, or control myriad other functions with simple physical gestures. (Source: Movea)
Usually technology is designed to improve performance or improve convenience. I don't see either one with this. Maybe it's for people who consistently misplace their remotes. Or maybe there is a generational aspect to this that I don't see.
Hi Rob! Great to hear from you. There is a bit of a generational factor here, as you suggest, but mostly it's about making a remote that will work with your laptop when it's plugged into the TV. People don't want to use a mouse when they're watching TV. The theory is, they will be more comfortable with gestures. I don't think this technology would have ever been developed if it weren't for the laptop-TV combination.
Definitely seems like the ultimate couch-potato accessory for the 21st century, where people no longer have TVs but computers plugged into flat screens. Quite interesting technology, Chuck, but with things like the Wii game console having been around for awhile, I'm surprised someone didn't think of it sooner.
I agree, Liz. This was an inevitable technology development. That said, I could see myself sitting on the couch, struggling to get the hang of this technology, and begging for a return to my old remote.
Ah yes, with new technology also comes new complications. Personally I still have trouble with remote controls that are available for typical TV systems, so I am sure this one would completely boggle my mind.
This would work well if a viewer was expected to just sit there like a good little vegetable. Only move to tell the screen what to do. Don't even think of moving around, jumping up, waving hands, or yelling at the screen. Can the context sensitivity tell when you are watching a game or show that is conducive to movement as just part of the viewing experience?
Many of today's electronic products rely heavily on the coolness factor, as well as the coolness-in-marketing factor.
@charles, problem that the manufacturers are facing is, there is lack of innovation that is happening in televisions these days. Moreover 3D which was supposed to be the next big thing in television industry didnt get positive reviews. Hence manufacturers are forced to implement such cool factor to distinguish their product from the rival products.
Rob--Good comment. My grandchildren constantly misplace or hide the remote. This is just about the only useful application I can see for this emerging technology. I would recommend someone install a ringer or beeper so I can call, hear an audible then start searching. That would be much more beneficial for me right now. I don't do video games so I'm sure this advancement is in line with the younger members of our society.
Hey Bobjengr, the kids are the worst with remotes. My kids find the weirdest places to misplace them. I'll find the cable remote in the kitchen, the TV remote under the couch, and the DVD remote on the stairs. It doesn't follow any logic, which makes it that much harder to find them. Asking the kids is no help at all.
I would recommend someone install a ringer or beeper so I can call, hear an audible then start searching.
@bobjengr, that is a great Idea. I think we need to have such beepers installed in keys,wallet, remotes etc which we usually misplace. We should have an app installed in our mobile which will control all these beepers. This will make finding back the misplaced items easy.
Definitely there is a need for intuitive controls for the television to take its place as the multimedia center of the one, as so many are predicting. Will be interesting to see if this approach works.
Charles, I think some of the smart TVs from Samsung and LG have already the gesture control system. So with our hand we can change the channel, power on –Off etc by waving the hands from some 10 meters away.
Wow, I remember my dad's remote from the 70's, "Hey kids, get up and change the channel!" The idea of the TV being a big wooden console that was part of the furniture is gone. So is the knob and the channel buttons from the front of the TV. Now our televisions are becoming fixtures on the wall (like a picture) and will most likely become part of the wall. The TV is not just for viewing shows, but becoming an extension of the computer and internet! Then Charles reveals that I no longer have to find the remote, just wave my hands. I could start to think I am a Jedi performing mind tricks!
"This is not the channel that you are looking for!"
I think this tech is just a stepping stone to a better user interface. Personally I'd rather eliminate the remote entirely and have sensors in the TV that observe their immediate environment looking for cues to command changes.
Much like the Kinect uses a hand wave to indicate intent with the XBox, I can see using a thumb up/down for changing volume and left/right for changing channel. Similarly, a rolling of the hand to simulate wheel motion could be a cue to hurry along, or fast forward video, with the opposite gesture (wheel reversing) to indicate rewind. Combine this with verbal voice commands such as "channel 2" to change directly to a particular channel or "what's next on channel 5?" and we can relegate the remote to it's entropic destiny - somewhere in the cracks of the couch!
This control experience is very similar to the Gyration air mouse that I use at my bicycle shop. It provides me the ability to access tecknical information on my screen in front of me. I have mitigated excess transportation [walking] issues. The mouse is pretty easy to use.
I'd like to see how the system reacts to "gesture" when my 8 year old son picks up the remote and throws it at his twin brother. I can think of some algorithms to cope with this, including speech synthesis.
The article mentioned "couch potato" and at least this requires some physical motion other than a button press. Perhap it could multiple "physical fitness" settings. A more agressive might require larger and multiple gestures to get something done (three big circles with both hands to increment/decrement volume one tick). Or would require some coordinated motion also including legs. Or having to stand up and sit back down. Five seconds of the watusi for up channel, 5 seconds of the twist for down channel. Who knows - it might work - the want/need to channel surf is a powerful motivation.
When laying on the couch under a blanket, I can't see myself gesturing. However combined with voice recognition, this would be well suited.
I base this on my experience with newer automobiles. I am constantly giving voice commands to change the radio, or control the climate. However once I am in the correct frequency band, I still find myself hitting the "radio buttons" and volume knob.
Also I'm a male, so for channel surfing there is nothing simpler than hitting a single button while pointing the remote through a opening under my blanket. With gestures, I'd be afraid of lifting off (with all the hand waving).
Just because it can be done does not mean that it is a good idea, or even that it is not a really stupid idea, in fact. Gestures, that is, those done by moving the remote, will lead to all sorts of unintentional input commands, since often the remote gets moved around during actions other than issuing commands to the TV stsem. Pets, children, eating motions, and just position changes, all could make things happen that were not intended. One other reality is that it would certainly raise the price of the remote, probably far more than the increase in actual value.
This level of interactivity with LG's recent purchase of webOS, I have high hopes for a near perfect HMI for our television's many new peripherals. I personally have 7 different streaming devices on my living room TV (XBOX, Bluray, Boxee Box, Roku 3, a PC, a Wii, and yes... a VCR). Switching between the group, navigating the many different styles is often cumbersome.
Usually, I don't like using innovations like this one, especially when I've grown accustomed to the traditional method -- in this case, the conventional, ultra-simple remote. But I'm taking the other side on this. Having spent the last four years watching my son's college basketball games (it's too far to travel to weekday games) on my laptop, which has been hooked up to my television, I see the advantage of the gesture methodology described here. Getting to the school's website for every game, scrolling through the Internet sites of various opposing teams with a touchpad, trying to watch the TV screen while my finger moved the cursor across the laptop display, I came to understand the problems of using a laptop that's attached to a TV set. There's gotta be a better way, and I'm willing to try gestures in my search for that better way.
Earlier this year paralyzed IndyCar drive Sam Schmidt did the seemingly impossible -- opening the qualifying rounds at Indy by driving a modified Corvette C7 Stingray around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
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