Physical Shortcuts for Media Remote Controls
Adjunct Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment (INTETAIN 2008), ICST, 8 pages, January 2008.
Conferences: INTETAIN 2008
Projects: TA Cube
Videos: Telekom Austria Cube
Abstract: The usability of remote controls for home entertainment systems like TV sets, set-top boxes, satellite receivers and home entertainment centers has reached overstraining complexity: about eight to ten remote controls with about sixty to eighty push-buttons each are typical for a home entertainment system setting today. To be able to harness the ever growing remote control interaction complexity, we propose physical shortcuts to express the most frequently used control commands. Embodied into an orientation aware artifact which serves as a tangible user interface, physical shortcuts are articulated as hand gestures by the user, and converted into control commands compatible with the built in infrared receivers of standard consumer electronics.

Starting with an analysis of the kinematics of the human hand, the types of grip and its correlation with the size and shape of an object which the hand grasps and holds, we study different tangible interface geometries with the potential to serve as a physical shortcut interface, and thus as a complementary remote control. Besides cubical and cylindrical artifact geometries of different sizes, also hybrid shapes are investigated with respect to their affordance, i.e. the action possibilities of an artifact readily perceivable by an actor. For the final cube like tangible interface design, ATMega168 microcontroller based electronics involving a three axis acceleration sensor and a gyroscope, together with low power IEEE 802.15.4 wireless communication components have been developed. A finite state machine based software architecture is deployed for artifact based hand gesture recognition, and table driven issuing of IR remote control commands. Finally, a fully functional cube remote control, the TA cube, is presented as a tangible remote control for an IPTV set-top box.