The gaming/entertainment industry has enjoyed a much wanted transformation thanks to technology like Kinect for the Xbox 360 which has taken an exciting step toward phasing out the need for an external physical device, such as a remote, to conveniently use another device. Personally, the thought of never having to locate, replace batteries and reprogram any remote again gives me hope for the future.
Think about how the crew of the USS Enterprise communicates with the ship through voice commands as well as body language and you will have a good idea where this is headed, to the final frontier, or rather the next frontier, but you know what I mean.
Hit the break to find out what I actually mean.
A team at Taipei University has taken a similar technology to Kinect and made a few important adaptations. First they have placed their hands-free system on a small chip that can be embedded inside the device. Second, this allows for use in a wide range of devices like home appliances and offers a truly remote-free user interface, unlike the previous Kinect example which still technically uses a separate device to control the Xbox 360. However, I'm certain the Xbox 720 will have it built in. Professor Chen Wen-hui stated that,
Users of the chip developed by the National Taipei University of Technology's graduate automation institute can switch on televisions, home stereos and air conditioners by hand from two meters away. They can adjust volumes or change settings the same way.
The chip has been in development for over a year and the university is applying for a patent because they believe it to be a "significantly faster" and cost effective control system. They also intend to sell to manufacturers when the chip is completed.
As cool as this is, I am a little creeped out at the idea of my home appliances watching me. People who are paranoid or talk with their hands might not want to run out and purchase the first matching LG washer/dryer combo with this chip as it might translate the frustrated hand gestures you make while on the phone with your girlfriend to mean you want your large dress shirts to come out Hollister sized.