Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Touchless TVs and smartphones may hit store shelves next year.

XTR3D, an Israeli firm plans to hand you control over your TV, without a remote control. All you need to do is turn your palm towards the screen and use gestures to control the TV. This will put an end to physical pressing of buttons and does not require any microchips or in-skin electronics, as the software will read your hand moves. The firm is expected to bring the first motion control smartphone in the market early next year. Texas Instruments is said to be one of the investors.

It may sound similar to Microsoft’s Kinect, but the technology incorporated is different. Unlike Kinect, XTR3D utilizes ordinary 2D cameras (webcam or camera in the smartphone) to extract 3D from a 2D image. According to Tel Aviv, Roy Ramati, a XTR3D spokesperson said that XTR3D's technology takes advantage of a 3D camera without any of the disadvantages, works in broad daylight, is cheaper and consumes less power. Moreover, it can be installed on any consumer electronics device and is said to be affordable for everyone. The newer devices will come embedded with the interface, while the older ones can download it from the app store.

"The Kinect can sense your entire body for interaction with the device, and we're only scratching the surface of what can be done because beyond computing there's a lot of scenarios where this kind of natural user interaction could be really powerful, a real paradigm shift," says Shahram Izadi, a researcher from the Microsoft Research Centre in Cambridge, England.

Reportedly, Microsoft plans to release a commercial version of the Kinect software development kit in early 2012. The company has joined hands with about 200 businesses to take Kinect beyond gaming. Apparently, Apple has also filed patents, which will allow throwing content from one device to another without touching the devices.

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