Researchers at Lancaster University have developed a “revolutionary” new technology that could turn just about any object into a TV remote.
Simply waving your cup of tea in front of the TV could change the channel, or rolling a toy car across the floor could change the volume.
The new technology differs from conventional gesture recognition by being far simpler in its design. Unlike other more advanced methods that actually look to recognise a hand or even individual fingers, this system simply recognises the gestures and the movements themselves, regardless of what’s doing it.
The system, called Matchpoint, uses a conventional webcam to operate and works by recognising motion, rather than specific objects.
As you can see by the image below, changing channel, volume or activating the TV guide are all performed by moving your hand to a certain part of the screen.
Once activated a simple slider appears and you just move your hand (with or without a mug of tea) in the direction you want.
Christopher Clarke, PhD student at Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications, and developer of the technology, said: “Spontaneous spatial coupling is a new approach to gesture control that works by matching movement instead of asking the computer to recognise a specific object.
“Our method allows for a much more user-friendly experience where you can change channels without having to put down your drink, or change your position, whether that is relaxing on the sofa or standing in the kitchen following a recipe.”
The system can be set up to read multiple users and the researchers believe that it could become a viable alternative for people who are unable to use conventional input devices such as remote controls or a keyboard or mouse.