ThinkOptics is a world leader in optical motion sensing technology. ThinkOptics holds numerous patents on all aspect of creating compact, cost effective, and very precise optical motion-sensing modules for tracking absolute 3D orientation and location in space.
The Need For Simplicity In The Digital Living Room
We are all familiar with the regular remote control, and probably have 4 or 5 of them on the living room table just for controlling the TV, DVD, Cable/Satellite box, TiVo, and stereo. But what happens when the TV meets the Internet and PC? The amount of content explodes and the possibilities for services and entertainment become mind-boggling: witness YouTube, Facebook, Google, Hulu, VuDu, Netflix, Amazon, and online Music and Games.
Today’s entertainment comes in myriad different forms and the simple IR Remote Control won’t allow you to navigate this, without adding MORE remotes, MORE buttons, a remote control screen, a keyboard, a mouse, and several games controllers to your already overcrowded living room table! This is what has been termed “the 10 foot gap”. It refers to the typical 10 foot distance between your living room TV and the couch. Without a good Remote Control, accessing all these services will be a royal pain.
The ThinkOptics Solution
Our solution is simple and to the point, literally. “Point!”. Simply point directly to the screen and where you point is where a cursor will appear. ThinkOptics’ patented technology is based on a simple, yet powerful, idea – visual tracking of a device’s arbitrary motion, accurately, reliably, and fast. In the case of the Wavit™ and iWavit™ products, we use this highly accurate tracking information to determine the properties relevant to a direct pointing device, i.e., absolute direction of pointing and more degrees of freedom. The Wavit-based products will operate in virtually all ambient lighting conditions from pitch darkness to broad daylight, and it is compatible with all types of display screens (e.g., LCD, CRT, plasma, rear and front projection).
Now, it’s OK to Point. In short, a Wavit-enabled Remote Control functions as an absolute pointer – like a laser pointer but without using lasers. This means that the user of the Remote always knows exactly where the screen cursor will appear and how it will move in response to their his/her motions with no unexpected offset and no drift over time (This is different from Gyro-based motion controllers which need to be re-calibrated constantly and drift over time).
Unlike a laser pointer, however, the Wavit allows the user to interact with the screen content. It also offers tracking of its location in the room (sort of like a local GPS, but without using GPS satellites) as well as the twist angle of the device. The combination of these pointing and tracking capabilities is achieved at low cost, low power consumption, and a compact form factor. The speed and realism of remote pointing is unprecedented, and as a pointer it even challenges the supremacy of the PC Mouse in performance.
Other features of the Wavit™ that make it especially useful in the Digital Living Room are its multi-user and IR-learning and blasting capabilities. We recognized early on that when inventing a solution for the “10-ft Gap”, we needed to allow for multi-user control AND for control of all the OTHER devices most people still have in their rooms, including TV, DVD players, and sound systems. Up to four people can operate their own Wavit™ at the same time, with each device having its own personalized settings. This simplifies multi-player games in addition to easing the control issues associated with traditional remotes. The IR learning/Blasting capability enables “Universal IR Remote Control” functionality that allows you to continue to use your IR-based devices but without all the extra remotes.
Finally, our iWavit module also includes speech recording and wireless transmission. In the future, all remotes will need to have a built-in wireless microphone.
In addition to addressing the 10-foot gap in the Digital Living Room, the pointing, tracking, and remote control functions of the core Wavit™ technology can be applied to many other areas. A short list includes:
- Transforming Mobile Devices (e.g., iPod touch/iPhone/iPad) into multi-functional reconfigurable input devices. See iWavit product site for more information.
- Video game controllers, including first person shooter games where realistic aiming is vital. The Nintendo Wii and Wii-U are a testament to this.
- Multi-player PC-based casual games
- Business presentation devices
- Up to 6 degree-of-freedom tracking system for 3-D interactive displays
- Precision position/motion sensing and measurement
- Pointing and remote control devices for the disabled