By Alexa Kaczka
Issues with eyesight have far-reaching effects. Those suffering from partial eyesight or blindness can struggle with simple everyday tasks.
In an attempt to help those struggling with poor eyesight, two companies have teamed up to create a set-top box that can be controlled through gesture.
Israel-based gesture recognition company eyeSight has collaborated with Korean smart set-top box specialists Innodigital in order to create this product.
Running on the Android operating system, the device is powered by technology built on machine vision algorithms and needs only a 2D camera to operate. It uses a combination of simple hand gestures and hand tracking enabling virtual mouse control so users can perform any function on the TV's remote control.
The nTobeBox can turn any TV into a smart TV – a television integrated with the internet.
It is hoped that this product will allow people with vision problems to work their television unaided by others, giving them a greater degree of independence.
"We're really happy to working in co-operation with Innodigital to produce something remarkable; the world's first STB with integrated gesture control," said Gideon Shmuel, chief executive of eyeSight.
I.K Kim, CEO at Innodigital, added: "Now users can do anything our product offers simply by moving their hand. This kind of interaction represents a sea-change in people's relationship with smart TVs."
When commenting on how the set-top box will work, Mr Shmeul said: "It’s the combination of motions, tracking, face detection and robustness. I’m here taking a call, drinking my coffee, and then suddenly I do a gesture, and it reacts.
"We constantly look at the environment and try to understand is it a motion, just a noise, or is it a plain gesture. We believe only in small movements."
Mr Schmuel added that the nTobeBox will be internationally available at the beginning of 2013 and will include a full web browser, app store, Skype video calling technology, embedded Wi-Fi, full support for HD 1080p and a QWERTY remote control.
In the meantime, Innodigital commented that it is looking to work with TV providers to release the box as part of a digital television package for consumers. However, the firm has not yet released any details as to which providers that might be.
by Alexa Kaczka