Now turn your TV on with hand gestures

Couch potatoes rejoice. According to reports, scientists have invented the perfect gadget for lazybones for whom even using the remote control is tiring. Australian scientists have reportedly come up with a box that lets television viewers change, switch on the DVD player or switch off an irritating presenter with the wave of a hand.

The controller’s built-in camera can recognize seven simple hand gestures and work with up to eight different gadgets around the home.

The all-seeing wave controller is the brainchild of Australian engineers Dr Prashan Premaratne and Quang Nguyen, who predict its availability on the market within three years.

Premaratne, of the University of Wollongong, said the device is designed to sit on a shelf or table which has a clear line of sight to the television and the owner. Apart from the frustration of sometimes mislaying the remote control just when you need it, they do tend to have different sets of commands which have to be mastered. People have tried to replace remote controls with voice recognition or glove base devices but with mixed results. The device is designed to sit on a shelf or table which has a clear line of sight to the television and the owner.

Its software recognize simple, deliberate hand gestures and then sends the appropriate signal to a universal remote control, designed to work with most makes of television, video recorder, DVDlayer, hi-fi and digital set-top box.

In tests, published in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s Computer Vision Research Journal, a prototype worked in all kinds of lighting and at a range of distances.

It was able to switch equipment on and off, alter the volume, change channels, play and stop. Premaratne says anyone can learn the gestures within five minutes.

One is used to tell the device which item you want to switch on or adjust. A clenched fist means “start” an outstretched hand with closed fingers means “power on” a thumbs up sign means up ad a sideways victory sign means channel.

Crucially for anyone with small children pets, or gesticulating family members, the software can distinguish between real commands and intentional gestures. The team has started work on making the gadget small enough to be built in to televisions or other devices.

They also want to adapt it for use with computer games consoles. Premaratne said: Normal game consoles rely on pressing series of buttons to get commands Hand gestures can replace those button presses and the gaming experience will be truly revolutionized.