A Simple Mechanism for Controlling Digital Devices
 Posted on 27/05/2014 - 11:01
Idea Outline
Motion sensors, such as "Kinect" or "Leap Motion" can be used to detect the size, shape and orientation of pieces of card. The user can point at areas on the card, the sensor detects this, selects the appropriate device and controls its action.

The Challenge
Digital devices used for entertainment and increasingly for home automation require some form of controller. Typically this is the remote control or a mobile phone. These are small with many buttons and often obscure symbols, to enable the selection of a multitude of operations, most of which are never needed. These controllers can be difficult to manage for those who are elderly or disabled; fingers do not have the discrimination to select the very small areas and the tiny writing is difficult even for those with good eyesight. In the case of mobile phones, they are expensive so that only one can be used and it has to be always to hand. They need batteries which have to be replaced and can easily be mislaid or broken leaving the user unable to control what could be vital machinery.

The Solution

Motion detectors, such as "Kinect", can do more than just recognise gestures; they can detect shapes and positions to a high degree of accuracy. A number of pieces of card can be used, in different shapes, for example squares and hexagons with some form of mark to indicate orientation. On each card is marked areas and symbols, using text, braille, or icons that can be distinguished and understood by a user. A card can be held and the user can point to a particular area; the sensor recognises which card and which area, and the computer to which it is attached carries out the required operation. For example a rectangular card could represent TV, marked with the user's choice of channels; pointing at one switches the TV on and to that channel. These are very cheap and easy to replace.

Target group and social impact
Elderly and disabled (and even some younger and more able) people who could benefit from the increased opportunities in entertainment, education and home automation, but who find the devices complex and difficult to use with a plethora of different controllers with functions that are rarely or never used. Expensive simplifying and standardising technology such as smart phones are outside the price range, particularly when more than one is desirable.

Competences of the applicant
Two people, each with 40 years in IT (particularly Software Development) as academics, technical managers and freelance consultants.

Video Link
None posted
Social Category
  • Health and Demographic Change
  • Social Inclusion, Human Rights and Equality

  • Tecnology Category
  • Audiovisual
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

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