Google is thinking of upgrading their Google TV and Buddy Box features by adding some sensory magic to them. The core of the patent is about extending controls beyond the TV's remote controller. For instance, Google wants your TV and/or TV box to be able to sense your presence as you enter a room so that it could automatically turn on your devices. As you exit your TV room, the devices will likewise know when to shut down for the evening, if you so choose that option. There are a few more tricks up Google's sleeve on this subject and you'll read about those in our report.
Setting a Buddy Box to Distinguish Between the Remote and a Hand Gesture
Google's invention describes techniques for controlling an electronic device such as a TV box or Buddy Box. In general, a sensor on a consumer electronic device can be positioned on the device to receive signals from an electronic remote control in a familiar manner. An emitter of energy, such as an IR emitter, can be located close to the sensor but positioned so that energy from the emitter does not normally impinge on the sensor.
When a user moves an item like their hand in front of the emitter and the sensor, the energy can reflect off the item and be sensed by the sensor. The device may then be programmed to differentiate such energy sensed from the internal device emitter, as compared to energy sensed from a remote control, and may perform an action that is different than actions that are performed in response to receiving signals from the remote control.
Wave Your Hand to Turn on or Turn off Your Google TV
For example, the "reflective" energy situation may be used to turn the device on or off, or to mute it. This way, if a user is watching television and the telephone rings, but the user cannot find the remote control, the user could simply pass their hand in the front of their home theatre receiver and/or their television in order to mute its sound.
As an extension of this principle, a device may be provided with multiple emitters and multiple sensors so that reflective control can be used for more than one action. For example, an emitter/sensor pair may be placed in each of the lower corners of a television bezel so that placing a hand or object in front of one corner could mute or unmute the television. Additionally, placing one hand or object in front of the other corner could turn the television on or off.
Google TV Will Eventually Understand Presence and Integrate Voice Commands
To complete the system Google states that by using additional sensors, a user will be able to provide a combination of inputs into the Buddy Box. For example, "a user may be able to swipe their hand past a sensor in order to turn on voice input recognition for the device and may subsequently speak additional commands to the device."
Google also notes that a sensor can be configured to detect a person's presence near an electronic device like a TV and turn it on upon detecting such a presence and yet understand a presence versus someone casually walking past the TV to get a snack or simply leave the room.
Google's patent was originally filed under serial number 286999 in Q4 2011 and published earlier in this quarter by the US Patent and Trademark Office. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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