Bewitched? Control Any Home Appliance With A Wave Of Your Hand

By Sophie Imas, NoCamels January 07, 2014 Comments

It may not be to the liking of proponents of more physical activity, but a world where any electronic device can be controlled from a distance with the wave of your hand sounds pretty bewitching to us.

Israeli company PointGrab has created the technology that allows electronic devices and home appliances, like window blinds or lamps, to be controlled by pointing or waving at them. The system uses depth information to create what they call a “virtual touch space” in front of the user enabling a “touch-like” operation of devices, but from a distance. 

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“This new experience revolutionizes the way people will naturally interact with consumer electronic devices as well as home appliances,” said Haim Perski, CEO of PointGrab. “We are proud to unveil the next generation solutions in gesture recognition and work together with our partners to make it available on mass market devices for consumers around the world.”

No motion sensor needed

This system builds on PointGrab’s existing technology, which offers users a variety of actions such as swipe, thumbs up, grab, drag and drop, two hands zoom and rotate to interact with devices as well as gesture shortcuts including “mute and “like”.

The company has developed software that essentially turns any ordinary 2D video camera (such as the ones found on smartphones), into a motion sensor. It is this software that allows it to integrate its technology without the need for expensive motion sensors or 3D cameras.

In their newest version, PointSwitch, the pointing gesture can be used to turn the lights or air conditioner on or off, as well as enable complex controls such as dimming lights, partially drawing the shades or changing the temperature on the air conditioning. The company says that PointSwitch can even work in total darkness and from wide angles and distances across the room.

European Technology Innovation Award

PointGrab was founded in 2008 and is now a leader in advanced gesture recognition software solutions. In 2013, it received the 2013 European Technology Innovation Award for its achievements in gesture recognition for consumer electronics. The company is headquartered in Hod HaSharon, Israel with representatives in the US, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.

Its two latest technologies, AirTouch and PointSwitch will be privately demonstrated at the forthcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014.

Photo: PointGrab

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