Forget smartphones, PointGrab wants to control your appliances with gestures

forget smartphones pointgrab wants control appliances gestures screen shot 2013 12 20 at 11 48 47 am

While every every smart home startup under the sun is clamoring to make thermostats and lightbulbs you can control with smartphone apps, PointGrab is already taking things to the next level: gesture control.

Set to make it’s debut at CES 2014, the company’s PointSwitch technology is designed to enable control of home appliances via pointing, swiping, and grabbing in thin air. The technology relies on an array of small sensors equipped with gesture recognition algorithms to be embedded in the devices you wish to control in your home. These sensors are programmed to track the position of your eyes in relation to the position/direction of your fingers, thereby recognizing what device you’re pointing at and triggering various commands. For example, to turn on a lamp you could simply point at it, and then adjust its brightness by moving your finger up or down. PointSwitch can detect your gestures from up to 15 feet away under all light conditions – apparently even in pure darkness.

We’ve yet to see this technology at work in person, but if it works as smoothly as the video below would have us believe, it might very well revolutionize the connected home. Gesture control is the next logical step in home automation, and PointGrab’s technology might help remedy one of the biggest problems with smart home devices – the fact that opening an app and navigating through a bunch of menus on your smartphone is often more cumbersome than getting up and flipping a physical switch.

That being said, in order to gain traction with consumers and overtake smartphone-based control systems, PointSwitch needs to work seamlessly. Devices like Leap Motion and Xbox Kinect have proven that gesture recognition is frustrating and inconvenient when it doesn’t work perfectly. Nobody likes waving their arms in vain without results, so if PointGrab is going to be successful, its sensors need to be extremely accurate and responsive.

We’ll catch up with PointGrab at CES, so be sure to circle back for more details in early January for further details. Until then, check out PointGrab.com

Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…
Deals

How to create a smart living room for under $250

By being shrewd about which brands and products you invest in, you can quickly and easily turn your house into a home that's “smart,” and that's true even if you’re starting from scratch.
Smart Home

After the launch of the Hub, the Google Home App gets a major overhaul

Google is following up a big hardware event in New York City this week with the reveal of a completely redesigned Google Home App that enables remote access, control over a suite of smart home devices, and more.
Smart Home

May the force cook with you: New slow cooker sports Star Wars figures

We can't say it will make your pot roast tastier, but Uncanny Brands' $50 Star Wars Slow Cooker, decorated with cartoon figures of Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, and other characters, might make cooking it more fun.
Smart Home

Gas dryers vs. electric dryers: Knowing the difference could save you some dough

Whether you buy an electric dryer or a gas dryer may depend solely on your setup, unless you want to spend money to get a gas hookup for your home. But if you have a choice, there are some differences to take into account.
Smart Home

Is your smart home lighting too confusing? Intellect simplifies your controls

Leviton introduced Intellect, a new controls platform for smart home lighting. Intellect is the fifth brand to join Leviton's portfolio, alongside ConTech, Intense, Birchwood, and JCC.
Smart Home

These awesome treehouses will make you question life on solid ground

Check out these truly awesome treehouses from around the world. From a three-story treehouse in the Costa Rican jungle to a mirrored cube hidden among the trees of Sweden, we’ve got you covered.
Smart Home

Nest gets more colorful with three new options for its smart thermostat

Nest Parent company Alphabet announced this week that its Nest Learning Thermostat will soon be made available in three new, fancier colors: Mirror black, brass, and polished steel.
Smart Home

Publish a new Alexa skill this month and Amazon will give you an Echo Dot

Amazon' Alexa group announced a promotion encouraging new developers to publish a new Alexa skill in any country First-time developers who publish a new an Alexa skill prior to midnight October 31, 2018, will get a free Echo Dot.
Smart Home

August Smart Lock satin nickel model comes bundled with Wi-Fi Connect bridge

The August Smart Lock--one of our favorite smart locks--is now available in a satin nickel finish. August is selling the new model in a $220 bundle with the Wi-Fi bridge needed for remote access and voice command features.
Smart Home

LG’s Colosseo smart sofa is the comfiest piece of tech in your home

LG has partnered with Italian furniture brand Natuzzi to produce the Colosseo, a connected sofa with five custom scenarios to provide maximum comfort for watching TV, reading, or just relaxing.
Smart Home

Simplisafe steps outside the smart home with its Video Doorbell Pro

SimpiSafe is pushing into the smart home market by introducing a new high-tech video doorbell that includes 1080p HD monitoring and a dual-sensor motion trigger that combines a body heat detector and a motion detector.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.