Israel’s eyeSight, which is one of the world’s two leaders in the area of 2D gesture technology (the other one, PointGrab, is also an Israeli company), has developed for South Korea’s InnoDigital the world’s first Android smart set-top box with integrated gesture recognition technology. The box not only lets users control just about any function of their TV set with hand gestures, but can turn any digital-capable set into a “smart TV,” with Internet, YouTube, video call, and other capabilities.

Called the nTobeBox, the device comes equipped with a built-in webcam that, when connected to the TV, will allow users to do anything on screen they would have been able to do with the set’s remote control, from lowering and raising the volume, changing channels, fixing “fuzzy” pictures by fiddling with the set’s control menu, and much more. In addition, the box will include its own functions that, when connected to the Internet, will let users access a wide range of functions, said Gideon Shmuel, CEO of eyeSight.

“We’re really happy to working in co-operation with InnoDigital to produce something remarkable; the world’s first set-top box with integrated gesture control,” Shmuel said. “The groundbreaking user experience we’ve brought to this InnoDigital product will help it stand head-and-shoulders above its competition: eyeSight’s advanced machine vision algorithms allow for natural, intuitive gestures, making our technology the number one choice for OEMs looking to provide their customers with a user experience which is a true enhancement compared to the current interaction methods.”

The box will be internationally available at the beginning of next year, running on the newest version of Android’s Ice Cream Sandwich OS and including a web browser, app store, Skype video call technology, embedded Wi-Fi, full support for 1080p HD broadcasts, and other features.

While PointGrab, another Israeli 2D gesture company, is the market leader in this area, eyeSight has an advantage that its competitor does not — and that makes it perfect for deploying in a stand-alone set-top box, eyeSight spokesperson Liat Rostock told The Times of Israel in a recent interview. The company’s gesture technology is a stand-alone service that can be used by manufacturers (a downloadable version for use by consumers is being developed) to install gestures into devices like PCs, set-top boxes, mobile devices, and more. “Usually manufacturers need the SDK to install support for gestures, but with our ‘gestures service,’ they can get up and running with gestures in a matter of hours,” Rostock said.

As a result, InnoDigital was able to get up and running with eyeSight’s innovation smoothly, said company CEO I.K Kim “We have taken our product to the next level by incorporating eyeSight’s incredible technology, to become the developers of the world’s first Android-based set-top box with gesture recognition. We chose eyeSight’s software-based solution not only because of the fantastic user experience but also for the simplicity of integration and flexibility it allowed. Now users can do anything our product offers simply by moving their hand, he said. And as far as he is concerned, said Kim, “this kind of interaction represents a sea change in people’s relationship with smart TVs.”