Tuesday, 20 December 2011


A communications company Israeli company called XTR3D says it will soon put on the market a mobile phone where customers will just be able to flick through channels and adjust the volume using only their hands.
The BBC reports that customers will just have to turn their palms towards the screen, and zap away without ever getting off the couch.
And no need for under-the-skin electronics or fancy microchips.
Instead, the TV - or rather gesture recognition software installed inside - will "read" your moves and execute appropriate commands, without any need for physically pressing any buttons.
Based in Tel Aviv, XTR3D is one of the developers of such motion capture technology, and it has just received $8m (£5m) investment bound to give "touchless" tech another push - and according to the firm, bring the first motion control smartphone into the market as early as next year.
US electronics giant Texas Instruments is among the investors. Although the Israeli firm follows in the footsteps of Microsoft's Kinect, the multi-directional gesture control gaming console that was launched last year and has since been selling like hot cakes despite the average $200 price tag, its technology is quite different.
The Kinect has depth sensors, multi-array microphones and RGB cameras that provide the software with the information it needs to track both voice and gestures.
XTR3D, on the other hand, uses ordinary 2D cameras - such as a webcam of a computer or the one in your smartphone - to extract 3D out of a 2D image.
This creates the same three-dimensional effect as on the Kinect.
According to the Tel Aviv start-up's spokesman Roy Ramati, XTR3D's technology has all the advantages of a 3D camera without any of the disadvantages - it can work in broad daylight, is much cheaper and uses a lot less power.
"And it can be installed into any consumer electronics device," adds Mr Ramati.
Dor Givon, XTR3D's founder and chief technical officer, adds that it is even possible to play a proper Kinect game on a regular laptop that has the software, touchlessly controlling the device from a distance of a few centimetres to up to 5m away.
And, he says, anyone will be able to afford it.
"Our target is to penetrate the market, so it will be something for everyone to try out," says Mr Givon.
"New devices will have the interface embedded in them, with older ones you will be able to download the software from the app store."
Besides gaming and switching TV channels, the existing prototypes include a PC where it is possible to flip through a PowerPoint presentation just by waving your hand, a tablet and a smartphone that have features such as using gestures to create the effect of a joystick, to click, swipe, zoom in and out with a pinch gesture, and a GPS device that can be controlled touchlessly while driving.

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