Don’t worry, if you can’t find your TV remote? Scientists have developed a technology that can turn everyday objects – such as teacups or toy cars – into remote controls for televisions. Thus you can start using your Tea cup as TV remote very soon.
Christopher Clarke, PhD student at Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications, and developer of the technology, said: “Spontaneous spatial coupling is a new approach to gesture control that works by matching movement instead of asking the computer to recognise a specific object.
“Our method allows for a much more user-friendly experience where you can change channels without having to put down your drink, or change your position, whether that is relaxing on the sofa or standing in the kitchen following a recipe.
“Everyday objects in the house can now easily become remote controls so there are no more frantic searches for remote controls when your favourite programme is about to start on another channel, and now everyone in the room has the ‘remote’. You could even change the channel with your pet cat.”
Researchers believe Matchpoint is also suitable to be used as an accessibility tool for people who are unable to use traditional pointers, such as remote controls and a mouse and keyboard.
The ‘Matchpoint’ technology, which only requires a simple webcam, works by displaying moving targets that orbit a small circular widget in the corner of the screen. These targets correspond to different functions – such as volume, changing channel or viewing a menu. The user synchronises the direction of movement of the target, with their hand, head or an object, to achieve what researchers call ‘spontaneous spatial coupling’, which activates the desired function.