Singlecue Breaks New Barriers in Gesture Recognition Software

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Gesture recognition technology has been fascinating researchers for years. The concept that we could one day control the TV, sound system and utilities in our homes with a wave of a hand, has helped to transform the home entertainment market.

It’s also fascinated consumers, whose drive for “smarter” homes has been helping to make gesture recognition into a billion-dollar industry.

Last November, Israeli pioneer eyeSight Technologies released its latest success: "singlecue." Formerly named "onecue," the tabletop-size device allows the user to operate appliances from anywhere in the room without turning a dial or pushing a button. For consumers who want to be able to watch a movie or, say, enjoy dinner without having to get up to change the volume or turn on the light, singlecue offers the next step in affordable home automation.

But the real significance of this tech breakthrough isn't the box that sits on your coffee table or the bookcase, but what is now embedded in dozens of home entertainment models hitting the market this year. Singlecue's technology has already been swept up by Apple, Lenovo, Toshiba and other major manufacturers, which have realized the benefit that gesture recognition can bring to promoting user-friendly products.

For Mac users the enticement of gesture recognition software may not be in the user's ability to " hush" the computer's sound system when a phone comes in on the iPhone, but the simplicity of operating programs without the push of multiple buttons. Apple computers outfitted with the app (called ControlAir by Apple) track the user's hands and take cues from movement using infrared sensing and WiFi. The user can turn on, back up and fast-forward a video, play music and operate other media by raising a finger or moving a hand.

"Singlecue was created to reduce the clutter and confusion caused by [device] interfaces and remotes," explained Gideon Shmuel, in an interview with Channel EMEA, a global content portal owned by Infopro Digital in France.  Shmuel serves as CEO of eyeSight, offering "a central control system with a single and simple touch-free interface.”

Singlecue's accomplishments are a far cry from the first foray into gesture recognition, which began in 1919 with a remotely controlled musical instrument called the Theramin. After that primitive start, the technology plodded along in its development until the 1990s, when the first system was built that allowed a user and "virtual agents" to interact in the same space. Called the ALIVE II system, it interpreted full-body gestures and displayed them through the movement and interaction of " virtual creatures." The technology however, didn't really take off until the Sony Playstation 2 was developed a decade later, which allowed players to interact with games without touching physical controls. 

Since that time, the research into gesture recogntion has literally exploded, yielding a divergent list of applications from telerobotics (the control of mechanisms at a distance, such as in another room) to facial recogntion and sign language interpretation.

Singlecue's developers have already received several kudos themselves. After a strong launch in November 2014, the product was featured by CNN Money as one of the coolest gadgests of 2014. And in February, it was awarded Distree Emea's Fresh Award for innovative technology.

But for consumers, the real appeal of the standalone tabletop model is not only its versitality but its price, which ranges between $129 and $199. The company is currently taking preorders, with an anticipated launch this spring.

"With singlecue, eyeSight brings to the market a very unique product which has no direct competitors," said Shmuel.

While there have been several forays into gesture-controlled home entertainment systems in recent years, Singlecue appears to have now raised the bar. Its global applications may very well change the way we live, work and play in the next decade.

Image: singlecue