CHI 2015: Control your home by waving your arms at your TV

A South Korean startup is using set-top 3D motion sensors to control on-screen content as well as connected appliances in the smart home.

At the CHI 2015 conference in Seoul, Vtouch is demoing a Kinect-based pointing system that can control household lights, stereos and thermostats with one 3D camera.

Users sit in front of a large-screen TV and undergo a quick calibration by pointing at a circle on the display. Then it’s simply a question of pointing or swiping in midair to choose or scroll through menu options on the system, which is also called Vtouch. Users can play video, channel surf or try video games such as darts.

Where it gets interesting is pointing to objects that aren’t on the TV. Indicating a connected stereo or a lamp in the corner, for instance, will turn it on or off. Pointing at a thermostat or photo frame on the wall will call up an air conditioning or picture gallery app on the TV screen.

The technology has been in development for several years, and the company is working on embedding the gestural-processing software, currently handled by a PC, into a compact motion sensor unit.

It has yet to announce a timeline for commercialization but hopes to apply the technology for digital signage in public spaces such as shops and movie theaters as well as in the household.

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