Life imitates (science) fiction, yet again

Looking back at old science fiction stories, we can see the seeds of modern technology scattered throughout. One of the most well-known sources of this phenomenon is, of course, Star Trek. Whether it’s the “communicator” which culminated in the advent of the “flip-phone”, or the “PADD”, which pre-dated the Palm Pilot by nearly 10 years, and the now ubiquitous iPad by 23 years, we’ve been drawing real world inspiration from science fiction for nearly as long as there’s been science fiction.

Well, here we go again:

Samsung and startup VTouch are working on a deal that would allow the South Korean giant to incorporate gesture controls into its smart TVs in the future.  The purpose of adding gesture controls to smart TVs is to eliminate the need for remote controls so users can rely on using hand gestures to make the TV do what they want, like changing channels, adjusting the volume, getting more information about the show they are watching.

The basic framework has been in place at the consumer level for a few years now, with technology like Microsoft’s Kinect, the Leap Motion controller, etc. Now they’re looking at incorporating it into home automation.

Of course, Douglas Adams predicted this back in 1979:

For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive–you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.

Fortunately, we’ve gotten the technology to be a little more discerning than that. Your neighbors might be irritated if a badly timed sneeze were to open all  your windows, crank up your stereo, and start your robo-mower at 0300!

END OF LINE

[Source: Smart TVs may soon control your home, Silicon Angle article, retrieved 3/10/14]

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1 Comment

  1. Joe E.

     /  March 13, 2014

    Yeah, that was the first bit I thought of reading that blurb as well. And of all the things in that series, this outcome seems among the least far-fetched.

    Reply

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