Our Latest Project Unveiled at CES

We are excited to give you a sneak peek at our latest project, a gesture-controlled movie browser platform developed with Omek Interactive for Jinni, a movie genome company, which will be debuting at CES on January 10, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

When Omek approached us to create a gestural interface for Jinni, we took a step back and looked at the burgeoning landscape of gesture-based UI. And we noticed two opportunities. First, for us, the cursor-tracking metaphor most frequently found in gesture UIs poses a problem. Yes, it is easy for users to understand because it is very similar to the mouse/cursor interface but in practice, when you remove the mouse you’re removing the logical feedback loop and the unmoored action feels disjointed and clumsy. Then there’s the fact that the majority of the on-screen cues for these cursor-tracking interfaces feature large, seemingly touchable buttons while in reality the user is gesturing in free space and can’t actually touch anything. It confuses and frustrates users in a fundamental way. Tracking also requires precise hand placements and poses an issue if the interface is to be equally accessible and usable by a 5-year-old, 3’5” girl and a 38-year-old, 6’4” man. Jinni’s system is highly interactive and exploratory and it requires high maneuverability that reliance solely on cursor targets simply cannot accommodate.

Second, and perhaps, most importantly, relying entirely on tracking means the user spends a good amount of time with an arm outstretched toward the TV at shoulder’s height, which quickly becomes a strenuous posture. It is a rather awkward position to hold for any length of time, but especially in the comforts of one’s den. It feels uncomfortable, and unnatural. Most people would start looking for the remote rather than feel silly while they feel the burn.

The benefit of Omek’s gesture recognition and tracking technology is its ability to detect gestures in X, Y and Z depth, and track the full body. This means that it is possible to control an interface by making natural motions. Adding gestures to a cursor-based interface allows for more flexibility and greater access to interactive features. Gestures also feel more comfortable to users, provided they are easy to discover and remember. Rather than the monkey-arm feeling inherent in cursor tracking, instinctual gestures, like those used in normal body language, feel more natural, easy and comfortable. And isn’t that how we want to feel when sitting back watching videos?

For the Jinni browser, Omek’s technology allowed us to create a simple set of gestures that combined with the cursor-tracking needs of the interface to make them more efficient and less strenuous to users. To both coach the user through the necessary gestures and make the tracking feel more natural we designed a series of on-screen visual cues that avoid desktop/touchscreen “button” metaphors and instead rely on airy looking targets. Check it out.

Come see the demo in person at CES 2012 at the Omek booth, LVCC North Hall #3619. It will also be shown by appointment at their CES suite. TV and STB manufacturers interested in a private meeting can either schedule this at the Omek booth or send e-mail to pr@omekinteractive.com.