How To Change TV Channels With Your Pet Cat

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Written By Mahmoud Sarvari

Technology has improved most of our lives, but the pile of remote controls that always seem to get lost is a problem for most people.

If you have a TV, satellite or cable, DVD player, streaming device, games console and audio system you will spend your life looking for remotes.

But help is at hand with a new gesture based technology control system for TVs and other screen-based devices.

Scientists can turn your cat, mug of coffee, pen or bag of sweets into a remote control with a new system called Matchpoint developed at Britain’s Lancaster University.

The discovery is set to revolutionise the way people interact with technology, says the team.

Gesture driven technology

The system works by mounting a web cam on top of the screen and software that loads the control app on to the TV or monitor.

The app shows several target icons orbiting in the corner of the screen that command different functions, like changing device source, volume or channels.

The camera picks up rotating body gestures that trigger the icons to carry out the command, doing away with the need for a remote.

The app does not look for specific movements of the body, but a series of commands which can be made with the hand, foot or any object held in the hand.

Besides controlling technology, Matchpoint can pause, stop or play videos without the user touching a remote or screen.

Everyday objects can control your TV

Christopher Clarke, one of the team at Lancaster University’s School of Computing and Communications, said: “Spontaneous spatial coupling is a new approach to gesture control that works by matching movement instead of asking the computer to recognise a specific object.

“Our method allows for a much more user-friendly experience where you can change channels without having to put down your drink, or change your position, whether that is relaxing on the sofa or standing in the kitchen following a recipe.

“Everyday objects in the house can now easily become remote controls so there are no more frantic searches for remote controls when your favourite programme is about to start on another channel, and now everyone in the room has the remote. You could even change the channel with your pet cat.”