Hillcrest Labs provides a vision of the pointing and navigating future with their demonstration of Freespace motion-controlled TV remote.

I came across the video demos of Hillcrest Labs” remote control via NewTeevee. The video above shows a demo at the Consumer Electronics Show last winter, but check the NewTeevee link for the more complete demo of their Freespace motion control technology (sadly they won’t let me embed it here). The demo shows a proof of concept software interface for the TV that allows the user to navigate and access media on their TV/Computer using the “Loop” concept remote control.

The prototype TV interface shows the flexibility and scalability of navigation that is possible with a motion controlled remote pointing device equipped with scroll wheel and selection buttons. The software they demo is a zoomable user interface (ZUI) that was created to demonstrate the possibility for navigating a media space on the TV. The remote provides tremor control, so panning motions with the remote don’t produce the jiggle you see on the Wiimote.

This demonstrates the great potential and possibilities that ZUIs provide for a simple hierarchical interface like this. Other options could have been explored, but the ZUI provides a very intuitive experience using pointing rather than an up/down/left/right control for navigation, e.g. in your TiVo and Apple TV remotes.

The technology will be licensed to consumer electronics companies, so we might hopefully see this navigation paradigm on set top boxes in the future.