TVs Getting More Natal-y This Fall

Illustration for article titled TVs Getting More Natal-y This Fall

Late 2010 will improve our ability to play video games without a controller in our hands. But even if you skip getting a Project Natal, there will be ways for you to motion-control your TV with a hand wave.

The New York Times reports that the Xbox 360's Project Natal is just one of many gesture-sensing systems coming to home electronics this year. While Microsoft has told us that Natal could do everything from enabling new forms of games to help people more easily navigate their libraries of content with waves of their hand, it turns out that some new TVs will do some of that stuff too:

Just as Microsoft's gaming system hits the market, so should TVs from Hitachi in Japan that will let people turn on their screens, scan through channels and change the volume on their sets with simple hand motions. Laptops and other computers should also arrive later this year with built-in cameras that can pick up similar gestures. Such technology could make today's touch-screen tools obsolete as people use gestures to control, for instance, the playback or fast-forward of a DVD.


The Times notes that a company called Primesense is making a version of this motion-sensing technology that is so advanced that it can distinguish between the gestures of multiple people sitting on the same couch.

As of now, however, it seems that only Project Natal is being discussed in the context of controller-free gesture-based games (original games, that is). For everything else, gestures mean only changing the channel, raising the volume, that sort of thing.

Note that other TVs will me more Wii-like, as we showed in some of our own recent CES coverage.

Giving Electronic Commands With Body Language [The New York Times]


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Part of me thinks all of this sounds great but another part of me feels likes it's a sign of the apocalypse.

Have humans become so lazy that we can't be bothered to press a button on a TV remote?

What's more disturbing is that it's only a matter of time before facial/body recognition technology is used for advertising and Nielsen ratings. The tech will see that you looked at the product placement in the show and you'll get an email telling you where you can buy that product! Ugh. Christ no!

In terms of the Nielsen ratings, TV shows will live or die based on how much time the cameras registered that you were actually in front of the TV with your head facing the screen paying attention.

Then there will be a shit storm when it's revealed that some companies have been sharing that data with the FBI and CIA. So in a nutshell, we're fucked! Or not. What do I know?