Hands On With Softkinetic’s Hands-Controlled TV

We write a lot about how the world of content available through your television set is undergoing a dramatic change. But the changes happening to your TV aren’t just what’s on or how it gets there, but also the way you interact with your TV set. Forget remote controls and buttons when you’ve got hands to change the channel and adjust the volume. We’ve been following this gesture-controlled TV trend for a while and recently sat down with Softkinetic to get a demo of their solution.

Softkinetic creates software that can run on any 3-D camera to translate people’s movements into commands set-top boxes or television sets can understand. Softkinetic is primarily in the gesture-controlled video game space (think Wii without the Wiimotes), and is working with companies like France Telecom’s Orange to develop applications to control TVs. Softkinetic is similar to Gesturetek, which is the software that handles gesture control for upcoming Hitachi sets.
Unlike other solutions we’ve seen so far, Softkinetic isn’t bound by a strict set of predefined gestures. In fact, your hand acts more like a mouse, controlling an on-screen cursor. Wave your hand around and select what you want by high-fiving the air. As you’ll see in this video demo with Thomas Petersen, business development and marketing director for Softkinetic, it looks a little silly at first, and doesn’t always work, but it’s still very early in the development process. Softkinetic expects the Orange set-top box solution to hit the market at the end of 2010/beginning of 2011, which is in line with when 3-D chip maker Canesta said its work with gesture-controlled TVs would be seen.
Based in Brussels, Belgium, Sofkinetic was borne out of a university project and incorporated two years ago. The company has 25 employees and is funded by private Belgian investors.