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Change the ‘channel with your pet cat’

This is a good news day for everyone who spends an unhealthy amount of time searching for their remote control.

Researchers from Lancaster University have pioneered ‘gesture control technology’ that converts just about any object – including the body – into a remote.

The ‘matchpoint’ tech uses a webcam and doesn’t need to be programmed to recognise a specific item or part of the body. Rotating targets shown in a small circle on the screen are controlled by gestures synchronised by the user in a system called ‘spontaneous spatial coupling’. A slider appears when volume or channel functions are selected, which are then adjusted by head or object movements in the desired direction. The technology also works on different screens.

The developer of the tech, Christopher Clarke, a PhD student 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.”

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