Monday, October 02, 2017
Can't find your TV remote again? Scientists have developed a technology that can turn everyday objects - such as teacups or toy cars - into remote controls for televisions.
Researchers from Lancaster University in the UK 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.
The technology looks for rotating movement so it does not 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.
As well as televisions, the technology can also be used with other screens. For example, YouTube tutorials, such as mending bikes or baking cakes, could be easily paused and rewound on tablet computers without users having to put down tools or mixing bowls.
Multiple pointers can be created to allow more than one user to point at drawings or pictures on interactive whiteboards simultaneously.
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