Remote controls may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to a new system by Israeli gesture start-up eyeSight. The onecue control center lets users communicate with just about any connected device in the home – from TVs to air conditioners – with the swipe of a hand.
“Every device in our homes, from the TV to the cable box to the thermostat, has its own control system and remotes, cables or apps for operation, resulting in lots of clutter and fragmentation,” said Gideon Shmuel, CEO of eyeSight. “To solve this problem, we developed onecue, a control center to bring together all of these devices through a natural, easy-to-use interface that leverages our years of experience in gesture recognition technology to let you experience your home through your fingertips.”
It’s a system, said Shmuel, that will provide a major boost to the Internet of Things and smart home technologies by making it easier to interact with networked devices.
For the past seven years, eyeSight has been developing gesture-control interfaces for all sorts of gadgets. Last year, the company developed the world’s first Android smart television set-top box with integrated gesture recognition technology, for South Korea’s InnoDigital. 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.
Earlier this year, the company introduced the OPPO R827T, a Chinese-made cellphone that is the first to fully incorporate eyeSight’s technology. OPPO phone users can make phone calls, choose music and app options, and navigate menus from as far as 50 meters away. And eyeSight’s gesture technology has been integrated into processors made by AMD, built into laptops made by Toshiba and HP, among others.
In onecue, eyeSight is producing its first universal control product, designed to control almost any home appliance. The onecue – it’s set to be released in early 2015, and is available for pre-order – can control just about any device or appliance that has a wi-fi or infrared (IR) interface. The device has a built-in camera that detects gestures and allows users to load different appliances by moving their hands in front of the camera. Once an appliance – like a TV – is loaded, the user can then use gestures to turn it on or off, increase/decrease volume, change the channel, etc. For MP3 players, gesture control can fast forward/skip/repeat a song; with air conditioners, moving hands up and down can change the temperature; etc.
Besides being eyeSight’s first universal device, onecue is also the company’s first direct-to-consumer product. Until now eyeSight has worked with manufacturers only.
Interestingly, eyeSight’s main competitor is another Israeli company, called PointGrab. Each has their own unique advantage, according to Liat Rostock, a spokesperson for eyeSight; her company’s advantage, she said, is in the simplicity of the gesture needed to control devices.
“In other systems you have to pick up your hand or arm to get the gesture to register on the camera that will communicate with our software. We have a set of very simple gestures that are easier for people to use than other solutions. The more complicated the gestures, the less likely consumers are to use them,” she said.
“Other solutions require that users adapt to perform slightly stiff or fixed movements to recognize gestures,” said eyeSight CEO Shmuel. “eyeSight’s software, on the other hand, is designed to recognize various natural ways in which users perform gestures.”