Acid mouse

A clip-on device enables a user to give commands to their TV with gestures.

A team in the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID) led by Professor Duane Varan has developed what may be the world’s first television ‘mouse’, a clip-on device that enables the user to give commands to their TV with gestures.

“As television becomes more and more interactive, viewers want to have greater control over what we see and do with it. We want the ability to give it commands in straightforward ways, such as with voice or gestures,” Professor Varan explained.

ACID’s prototype gesture recognition device clips on the hand. It has accelerometers which measure the movement and orientation of the user’s hand in various directions, and a thumb-button to lock in the command.

Professor Varan predicts that, in time, it will replace remote buttons and arrow keys for record, stop, fast forward, menu and so on, with a series of gestures that are intuitive – like a hand up for stop, or palm-up for fast forward.

“In fact, we think we can go way beyond existing remote controls with a device like this,” he added.

The team is currently fine-tuning the prototype device so it can recognise a wide variation in people’s gestures – speed, extent and things like left-handedness.

Unlike a mouse, Professor Varan believes the gesture recognition device will accommodate natural gestures by the user without risking RSI or strain injury.

The project is part of a larger suite of programs within ACID which are “exploring better ways and technologies for people to interact with and understand how people learn, work and play,” explained ACID chief executive officer Professor Jeff Jones.