Device That Reads Hands Could Banish Controllers

A group of Australian researchers have reportedly developed a device that allows people to manipulate their TVs, DVD players, and other electronics with a simple wave of the hand. The controller box has a built-in camera that can identify seven simple hand gestures and can be used with up to 8 different devices. The development is led by Australian engineers Dr. Prashan Premaratne and Quang Nguyen, who expect the gadget to hit the market within three years.
“Dr Premaratne, of the University of Wollongong, said the device is designed to sit on a shelf or table which has a clear line of sight to the television and the owner. Its software recognises simple, deliberate hand gestures and then sends the appropriate signal to a universal remote control, designed to work with most makes of television, video recorder, DVD player, hi-fi and digital set-top box.”
In their tests, the prototype model functioned quite well under various types of lighting and at various distances. The prototype read gestures to turn equipment on and off, play, stop, change channels, and change volume. In addition, gestures can be learned within 5 minutes according to Premaratne. Also, the software is reportedly intelligent in that it can distinguish between unintended gestures and real commands. The team working on developing a smaller version of the device such that it could be built into TV sets and other devices by default.

Referring to the picture above, the clenched fist signal means “start,” the outstretched hand means “power on,” the thumb-up gesture means “move channel up,” and the scissors gesture means “select channel.”