Hitachi Readying Gesture-Controlled TV Sets for 2010
Hitachi plans to introduce TV sets that can be controlled by a flick of the hand by early 2010 in Japan and possibly bring them to the U.S. by late next year. The devices will use chips from Canesta Inc., a San Jose, CA, maker of 3D sensors, and software from GestureTek of Sunnyvale, CA. www.gesturetek.com > Hitachi showed a prototype set at CES in January. The companies offered more advanced demonstrations at the Wall Street Journal’s “All Things Digital” conference in late May, including capabilities that give the Hitachi TV set the ability “to see” hand movements that control on-off functions, channel selection, volume and can link to home automation, lighting and other actions. New navigation software allows viewers to search a visual carousel of program listings then reach in to “grab” the shows they want to see. The system can recognize who has “control” of the system, governing the battle over the virtual remote control, which in this case cannot get lost in the sofa cushions. Canesta makes the single CMOS sensor chip that outputs a continuous stream of 3D frames that dynamically map human gestures. Although prices are not yet established, executives contend that the chip and software will only add a few dollars to the price of a TV set. “Gestural interfaces have the potential to provide a dramatically improved user experience for other applications,” says Canesta President/CEO Jim Spare.