engineering careers  New gesture control tech can turn everyday objects into remote controls
engineering careers  New gesture control tech can turn everyday objects into remote controls

Lancaster Engineers have created new gesture control technology that can turn everyday objects, such as the humble cup of tea, into a remote control

The team believes that the new technology, called Matchpoint, will allow you to do everything from changing the channel of your TV simply by moving your cup of tea to lifting your spoon to pause a cookery video on your tablet.

The team believes their technology stands out from other gesture control systems because their users won’t have to memorize different movements for different commands. Matchpoint’s only hardware requirement is a standard webcam.

The project is the brainchild of Ph.D. student Christopher Clarke and works by giving the user a group of small circular widgets in the bottom corner of their TV.

Spontaneous spatial coupling is a new approach to gesture control that works by matching movement instead of asking the computer to recognize 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. Christopher Clarke

Each widget represents simple functions; like volume control or channel changing. The user can then ‘rotate’ each widget using a technology known as “spontaneous spatial coupling”. This allows the machine to automatically detect the rotational movement via the webcam and matches it up to the desired function. This means the system doesn’t need to be calibrated or need to programmed to recognize objects.


A paper on the research was presented at the UIST2017 conference in Quebec City this week.

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