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back to article Air mouse targets TV - Apple to follow?

Movea, the company behind the Gyration Air Mouse, is pushing into television with a module for adding gesture control to the humble zapper. Waving the remote at the TV might not work right now, but Movea intends to change that with its Motion Pod - enabling remote control manufacturers to add gestures to their repertoire. …

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Dragons' Den

Erm, wasn't a similar product on the Den a week or two ago and is selling very well in a multitunde of companies (think Target sell them in the States for example)

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Another company completely fails to realise

That the only thing the Wii brings to games is having a lightgun-alike remote targeting cursor available from the start. And maybe being able to hold controls comfortably with two separate hands.

Even on the Wii, games that actually use motion control with any sort of real effect on usability are few and far between.

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Silver badge

What?

Have you actually used one? Try Wii Sports resort for one.

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Alert

I remember seeing this before..

... on TV no less. It was by some person demonstrating how the remote control will work in the future. He actually had a working module that he used to change channels and other stuff. This was YEARS ago, I don't remember what the show's name is, but I remember that it was an American show.

he was holding a mouse like device and the TV had some sort of a sensor. The TV reacted to how he moved his hand.

I don't know if this can be considered as prior work to this new invention or not, but I had to point it out.

P.S. yes, I used to watch TV in the past.

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Paris Hilton

Why not point and click?

I don't understand why no remote / TV manufacturers haven't made a simple Wii remote style device; a pointer with one or two buttons, and a sensor bar on the TV.

Then on-screen menus can be used by anyone with no knowledge as to gestures or buttons.

Simples, as one may say.

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Happy

RSI for you

Now TV lovers can get RSI too!

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WTF?

Just hold on a minute ...

Apple will want to patent this, as their own work, to go with Gen 3 Apple TV.

Apple owns all technology ... judging by their patent claims.

Or possibly a karaoke outfit will lay claim to the gestures ... just like those used in karaoke.

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Anonymous Coward

iLemon

Awww, you forgot to say Lemon again, you disappoint us.

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title

The reason why phones/PDAs have not replaced remote controls seems pretty obvious: I go out, taking my phone with me, leaving my son unable to change channels on the TV without a laborious treck 3m across the living room.

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FAIL

Simple answer

Your son simply uses HIS phone to control the TV at that point.

Simple.

Unless he is not old enough to have a phone, in which case what the hell are you doing leaviong him home-alone?

(Or he haults his big fat arse to the TV and changes it that way, thereby getting some much-needed exercise).

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Some phones could be universal remotes

If a phone has an IR transmitter on the top, it could be a replacement remote. Leave the original in the house but use the other one as you see fit.

The problem for me is that even if a phone did have an IR (and many don't now), is they're simply not designed to be used as a remote. For example, on my phone I would have to push the power button which is on the top and designed to be low profile so as not to be set off by accident, swipe the screen to take the screen lock off, potentially launch an IR app, and eventually get at soft keys which represent TV / DVD / Sat actions. Chances are half the time if I'm at home that the phone is charging anyway and not in front of me anyway.

Meanwhile someone else just pushed a button on a regular $2 packin remote and it did exactly what it was meant to do. I do wish devices adopted a single, universal, bi-directional standard for pairing TVs & other household appliances with control centers or phones though. IR is so crap compared to what could be done with bluetooth or similar.

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FAIL

Why do people on forums have to be idiots?

My wife for instance. Doesn't need one, doesn't want one.

My son also doesn't have one.

I only have one because I have to for work, otherwise I wouldn't have one either.

You know you don't *have* to be contactable by everyone all of the time? Phone's are actually rather a rude form of communication as, when you call someone, it's basically saying "I want you to speak to me now, not when it's convenient for you to communicate. Oh! And I'm not going to tell you what it's about before hand." E-mail, SMS, snail mail, etc. are all much more civilized allowing you to review and respond when you deem appropriate or convenient.

And, yes, I pointed out that he could change channels manually - just goes to show you didn't read before replying.

Finally, "big fat arse" is very insulting when you have no idea what the person you are talking about is like. He's 9, plays football, rugby and is currently red belt (Hong Tti) in Kuk Sool Won so would quite happily come round and kick your sorry arse for saying that.

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Anonymous Coward

So he's 9?

So he's 9 and you leave him home alone, by your own admission.

What was that you were saying about idiots?

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@AC

No. I didn't say that at all. Can you not read. It's perfectly possible that I could go out - to work or the shops for instance - and my wife still be there. Duh!

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FAIL

So obviously...

So obviously he just uses HER remote - after all, it was ONLY your son who you claimed would be unable to control the telly without lugging his fat arse 3m to the TV itself, ergo your wife, hitherto unmentioned and therefore unaffected must have her own remote which your poor son could use.

Problem solved!

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This post has been deleted by its author

oh, i miss read the article...

this isnt a new remoteless device, its just a copy of whats currently available to buy...

http://www.reghardware.com/2009/09/22/the_wand/

or

http://www.reghardware.com/2009/09/10/philips_uwand/

oh... goodness! JVC have been at it for ages!!!

http://www.reghardware.com/2007/10/08/jvc_clap_tv/ their 2007 prototype!!!

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Jobs Halo

whats this to do with a***e??

a poor attempt to collect more clicks by randomly using that brand!!

You reported on Hitachi's working gesture controlled TV back at CES 2009 and managed to not mention the fruit...

Anyway, back to my comment...

Erm, havent hitachi already demoed a working prototype TV using gesture control? how can this be anything new?!

SJ for el reg's shameless brand whoring!

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PDAs that can replace remotes?

I've heard about them but not sure I've ever seen one. Sure, you can probably use an i/Pod/Pad/Phone/Suppository to control Apple TV, and if you use Media Centre then I dare say you can do something with some phones -- but anyone using a conventional TV is going to struggle getting the puny Infra-Red LED on their PDA or phone (if it has one) to command the TV to do anything, and that's before they've tried to find the relevant software.

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Silver badge

Indeed

I used to be able to use my PalmPilot m100 to control TVs quite well using OmniRemote (a free, downloadable app a long time before Apple got in on the act), but when I switched to a Sony Clie and then a Palm Treo, the LED's were only strong enough to control the TV from a distance of about a metre. Not too good for a remote. I would have been able to buy a hardware add-on, but that would have spoilt the lines on the PDA/Phone.

Was a good idea though, having a fully customizable remote able to do all of your media appliences. Shame it was not successful.

Interesting about consoles, though. My son uses his DS as a wireless controller on his Wii. Not sure if this is specific to particular games, but it allows multiplayer games to be played when you don't have enough controllers.

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Abstract gestures suck so badly

I have yet to see any game, or any system which uses abstract gestures in a way which doesn't suck. The problem is abstract gestures don't mean anything to anyone. People don't know what shape they're meant to do, or forget the gesture, or don't perform it with enough precision, or the system keeps firing false positives when somebody just picked up the remote or handed it to someone. All of these things are hugely more frustrating than if there were just a button or two for the task.

Wii games work best when you have 1:1 mapping between your action and what happens in a game (e.g. a bowling motion makes your in-game character bowl). When a game starts asking people to proscribe loops, or draw squares or some abstract shape and map it onto something else things fall apart very rapidly.

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Joke

One works ..

I'm waiting for the remote that goes straight to the X rated channels the moment you move it up and down. AFAIK, that gesture works about everywhere..

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Rob
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FAIL

Which is quicker?

Hitting a number on a keypad or waving a gesture (which you'll need to get right or it won't work).

It sounds like a solution to a problem that never existed.

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@Rob

Exactly. Gestures are vague forgettable things. If they MUST be implemented then they have to correspond to some action in real life. e.g. if the game wants me to throw a handgrenade then some kind of pull pin out and toss gesture might work. But twirling spirals, loops, stars etc. is just stupid interface design.

Save the motion control for exactly that - motion control. I hope Sony learns that with their Wii-like motion control. At least the wand has plenty of buttons which is a good sign but I suspect Move enabled versions of games like Heavy Rain will cross the line.

Lack of buttons is why I think Microsoft's Kinect will (to use the scientific term) suck balls. There are no buttons so anything a game or the dash needs the player to do which doesn't relate to a physical action is going to be a huge pain. Either the game will use gestures, or it will use voice control, or it will have to super impose a video of the player to help them "reach" for on screen buttons or similar. It has the potential to be a disaster.

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Anonymous Coward

wave your titles in the air

I've also been using my Logitech MXAir mouse as a remote on my HTPC for years. This really isn't new.

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Anonymous Coward

Already been done

http://thewandcompany.com/index.html

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Why standard remotes work

I can pick up the remote for most items of equipment and have some hope of being able to use at least the most common functions - this aided somewhat by the clever ruse of the manufacturer printing helpful hints like "MENU", "OK", etc on the remote. This is especially helpful when faced with the "can you help me with <some technical issue>" questions I get asked regularly. Like last night when watching BBC1 HD on a friends new Sky+HD box and thinking it looks about the same as standard def - picked up the unfamiliar remote, found the info button, only to find the TV is using the SD signal via the scart cable the clueless installer left plugged in, a few presses of the "Source" button brought up the HDMI input and the picture improved !

Pick up one of these and I've no clue what functions are supported, nor what the gesture for each function is. And if I do learn them, then you can be sure that the next bit of kit you come to use is different in some frustrating way. And the only thing you can absolutely guarantee is that each manufacturer will expect the rest of the world to do things *their* way.

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This will (IMO) fail.

Why? Let me illustrate by giving an example.

I remember reading an article (on The Reg actually) talking about gesture controlled remotes, and saying how they were a great thing because modern remotes can have up to 100 buttons. It's one thing having 100 buttons controlling functions (bear in mind that some buttons change the function of others). Even assuming the remote is capable of recognising 100 gestures (and it's not a given it will), it will be almost impossible for the average user to remember them.

Not to mention it would get bloody irrititating when you are trying to watch TV and someone performs a series of actions that make it look like they are conducting an orchestra while trying to adjust the volume..

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Why have a remote at all?

Just put a camera on the tv with software to detect your gestures.

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Coat

Clarke said,

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic", but I'm not sure he intended it as a goal!

You take your wand, make the right gestures (maybe add a little voice recognition...) and magic happens.

Anyone who suggests using a camera to detect gestures without a remote doesn't have kids - they'll either fidget and change channels accidentally, or deliberate change to cartoon network when you're watching the news.

Mine's the one with the Peruvian Instant Darkness Powder in the pocket. No, you're NOT watching TV!

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Coat

"For years radios had been operated...

by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the

technology became more sophisticated the controls were made

touch-sensitive - you merely had to brush the panels with your

fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general

direction of the components and hope."

Surely Douglas Adams (or his estate) has prior art on this technology?

Mine's the one with THHGTTG in the pocket.

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No, Adams doesn't have prior art at all.

Unless you are claiming that he went on to describe the functionality and implementation of said hand-waving-control in sufficient detail to enable others to make a working implementation from his description?

No?

Of course not.

Just giving a vague dozen words to describe a nebulous concept does not constitute prior art.

A C Clarke, on the other hand, went into so much detailwith his descriptions of telecommunication satelites that his work DID constitute prior art and prevent many a patent from being granted. But he did use more than a dozen vague words...

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