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Malevolent

‘Revolutionary’ new gesture control tech turns any object into a TV remote

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 Malevolent    3,455

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Imagine changing the channel of your TV simply by moving your cup of tea, adjusting the volume on a music player by rolling a toy car, or rotating a spatula to pause a cookery video on your tablet.

New gesture control technology that can turn everyday objects into remote controls could revolutionise how we interact with televisions, and other screens - ending frustrating searches for remotes that have slipped down the side of sofa cushions.

In a paper – ‘Matchpoint: Spontaneous spatial coupling of body movement for touchless pointing’ – which will be presented at the UIST2017 conference in Quebec City this October, researchers from Lancaster University show a novel technique that allows body movement, or movement of objects, to be used to interact with screens.

The ‘Matchpoint’ technology, which only requires a simple webcam, works by displaying moving targets that orbit a small circular widget in the corner of the screen. These targets correspond to different functions – such as volume, changing channel or viewing a menu. The user synchronises the direction of movement of the target, with their hand, head or an object, to achieve what researchers call ‘spontaneous spatial coupling’, which activates the desired function.

Unlike existing gesture control technology, the software does not look for a specific body part it has been trained to identify – such as a hand. Lancaster’s technology looks for rotating movement so it doesn’t require calibration, or the software to have prior knowledge of objects. This provides much more flexibility and ease for the user as it works even while hands are full, and while stood or slouching on the sofa.

Users also do not need to learn specific commands to activate different functions, as is the case with some gesture controlled televisions on the market, and the user is able to decouple at will.

When selecting volume adjustment or channel selection, sliders appear. The user moves their hand, head, or object, in the required direction indicated by the slider to change the volume or to find the desired channel.

 

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