WATCH | Turn your head into a remote control


New gesture control technology developed at Lancaster University will allow people to use their head, hand, or any household object as a TV or tablet remote control, as Reuters’ Jim Drury discovered.

“I’m Chris Clarke, I’m a PhD student from Lancaster University. Spontaneous spatial coupling is about acquiring pointers on the fly. So it’s a two stage process. In the first stage users acquire a pointer using any body part or object. The second stage is they use a pointer to control volume on a TV or playback on a video,” Chris Clarke, Phd student at Lancaster University, saying.

“I’m Hans Gallerson, I’m professor of interactive systems at Lancaster University. The display has a camera mounted that looks at the user and observes the user’s movement and it looks for a particular movement pattern that matches the display of movement on the screen. And when it detects that then it can determine the relationship between the user’s movement and the movement on the screen and it can translate the movement so that users can point on the screen,” Professor Hans Gellersen, Lancaster University, saying.

“In our system we use circular movement and the circular movement has to be followed for at least half a circle to be detected and this is based on the assumption that we don’t normally make circular movements in our activities.”

“Our system is different in that we don’t detect specific body parts or objects. We just look for any motion in the system and we match that against the controls. It’s also different in that the pointing is only temporary. It’s not a permanent connection with the user and the control. So you can pick up a pointer and put one down whenever you feel like it,” Clarke, saying.

“Any type of object can be used with the system because the system isn’t trained on any specific objects. The object must have distinct features, but as long as it’s in the field of view of the camera and it can be moved in a similar trajectory to the on-screen controls, any object can be used,” Clarke, saying.