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Jan 10, 2009

CES: Does the future of TV lie in gesture-based control?

from VentureBeat by 

Gesture control is one of the most exciting new technologies at the International Consumer Electronics Show this week.There are a variety of companies — inspired by the Nintendo Wii’s gesture control and the iPhone’s multi-touch screen — that are developing new ways to interact with gadgets. Hand, arm or figner gestures — like waving your arms around in circles to make something happen on the screen — are being used in everything from phones to game consoles.

But the TV may be a big market for these technologies. TV remote controls are getting so complex that consumers need a less-intimidating way to navigate through all of the data — movies, stored TV shows, music, and pictures — that they can access on their connected TV sets.

“Gesture control is going to be the next big thing in TV remote control,” said Paul Liao, chief technology officer of Panasonic’s North American division.

Panasonic has its own EZ Touch remote with touch screens on both ends of a remote where you swipe your fingers across a screen. That’s a pretty simple use of gestures. But it’s quite possible that these remotes don’t go far enough. Some radically different approaches are being tried by the companies in the videos below. These new technologies require the development of sensors, user interface software, and hardware for making sense of the data coming in from the sensors.

Here are videos I took that may show you the future of TV. Are you ready to say goodbye to the remote control? These three demos at CES show how to use gestures to control the TV. The first video shows the Hitachi TV that is connected to a Canesta 3-D depth camera, which senses a moving object. You can wave your hands around in front of the camera to make things happen on the TV, like changing the channel or navigating the menu...

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