Will Gesture-Based TV Remotes Set the Stage for a CE Revolution?

  • As earlier reported on ETCentric, CE controls may soon be based on gestures rather than directional buttons, creating a more “natural” experience that could potentially change the way viewers interact with media.
  • The motion-sensing technology for Nintendo’s Wii and the Kinect module for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is advancing to remote controls for other consumer electronics, including the TV.
  • For example, Hillcrest Labs has unveiled a portfolio of products targeted at applications in computers, game consoles, industrial automation, mobile phones, robotics and TVs.
  • Hillcrest has released its Motion Engine and Sensor Modules for hardware products, and the its new Scoop pointer replaces the consumer-facing Loop product (the company raised $5.5 million earlier this year).
  • “Most recently, streaming set-top box maker Roku unveiled a new controller that includes Hillcrest Labs’ motion-sensing technology,” reports GigaOM. “Right now, that controller is used primarily for a new generation of casual gaming apps — like ‘Angry Birds’ — that have been introduced on its boxes, but we could imagine its use being extended to controlling app navigation with an update to its outdated UI.”
  • GigaOM suggests that making the TV remote gesture-based will open up the possibility of more interactive experiences that could lead to a revolution, similar to how graphical user interfaces and the computer mouse fundamentally changed how people used their PCs and led to new applications and capabilities: “No longer trapped by the up-down-left-right navigation that comes from traditional remotes, operators will be able to create improved user interfaces. Finally, being able to point and click on the TV screen could also allow broadcasters and advertisers to create more immersive applications as part of their shows and advertisements.”