January 13, 2008 weblog
TVs, Cell Phones to Learn 'Sign Language'
The days of pressing tangible buttons to operate TVs and cell phones may one day be replaced by waving, clapping, and pointing. With two upcoming products, Sony Ericsson´s Z555 gesture phone and JVC´s "Snap & Gesture" TV technology, users can communicate with their gadgets using a pre-programmed "sign language."
Sony´s Z555 allows cell phone users to avoid fiddling with their phones when trying to turn off the ring of an incoming call or alarm. Instead of picking it up and searching for the silent button, users can mute the phone by waving a hand back and forth over the phone thanks to an imbedded camera. A simple hand sweep over the phone will put the device into "snooze" mode when the alarm goes off.
The Z555, which features a diamond design on its black cover, will be available in select markets this spring, but the price is still to be determined.
Then there´s JVC´s "Snap & Gesture" TV, which ensures that you´ll never lose the remote again. The TV, which is still in the demo stage, contains a microphone to detect clapping, a video camera to recognize finger movements, and a set of sensors that can help the system memorize customized gestures.
To control the TV, a user claps their hands three times to make a menu with icons appear. The user can choose an icon by placing their fingertip on it, which is verified by an image of the user´s hand on the screen, as tracked by the camera. By hooking their finger, the user "clicks" to select an icon. On the menu screen, users can select channels, manage the set-up, and do everything a remote control can do using hand waves, claps or finger snaps.
For more immediate control of common operations, such as changing the volume, users can clap a certain way. The system can also be programmed so that specific clapping patterns result in going to specific channels (for example, two claps means switch to Comedy Central).
JVS does not have an expected release date for the "Snap & Gesture" TV.