TV of Tomorrow

We’ve just finished a video which will better present our concept. It’s about how the TV of tomorrow may work. Please check out:

First of all, what’s with that suspicious background noise?

Secondly, I have never seen anyone promote his idea like this before… wonder how people will react to it. I personally think there is a little arrogance in this. I mean, it’s like “Ok, that’s my idea. You wanna pay for it?”
Maybe it’s just the quality of the presentation. Maybe it’s just me.

Thirdly, I don’t know if you have patented it, but it’s nothing more than adding the IBM button mouse thingy onto a remote controller( In fact, that will be more compact!). I’d prefer a Wii controller which you move and click.

Lastly, most remote controllers work by IR, which send a signal everytime you input one. How do you transmit a seamless motion like you’ve shown in the video? Wifi?

I am being a bit citical here because it seems that you are ready to sell this idea, which means you think it’s been finalized or refined to a point where it should be judged as a final product. I think there’s still a lot of room to improve.

What do I think?

I think I just wasted 2 minutes and 48 seconds of my life watching part of that video that should have been done in 30 seconds or less.

Why the hell is that 4:10 long?

Sorry that there is a production problem with the noise. The revised video is here: TV of Tomorrow - YouTube

It’s completely different from the IBM mouse stick which is not movable over a surface.

This is our first video demonstration so it’s kind of crude. It’ll be more interesting in a coming video showing how WarCraft can be played using the remote.

Thanks for the reply,

Speaking of IBM button mouse… aren’t you basically using a very crude version of any touch pad mouse on a notebook computer? If you make that comparison, its like an abacus vs. a calculator.

I agree w/ MC. The future of TV will probably have more physical interaction with the interface. Not just sliding your thumb around and clicking a button occasionally.

Keep at it.

Where is the music and voice-over. Plus, where is the hot looking remote. This looks like a decent first time student animation, but you are trying to sell this thing.

It is a good idea. Why not use a little touch sensetive pad from a laptop though? The little sliding joystick seems like a step back. It’s likely to get damaged and it’s alot of parts to have problems with.

Lastly, the video is too damn long. This should have been one minute (in fact, for me it was, I fast-forwarded).

How is this different or better than:

a joystick (or is it a joystick?)
a trackpad
a trackpoint
a trackball
a 3d-space mouse (including the Wii remote)

Personally I’d like an eye-tracker.

In future, people might interact TV like it’s another human. But it’ll still be about educating people how to push buttons on the TV screen in the next 10 years or so. (with great difficulty I believe)

Touch technique will be very soon under serious test when iPhone comes up, if the success/failure can be attributed to the interface. Touch capable remote has been around for years but the acceptance is minimum. I personally don’t buy the touchy fashion. I don’t like any one to touch any of the computer displays I have. I don’t like the mess and I can’t tolerate it obscuring the image. I think touchy thing looks good but shouldn’t be used for applications for more than 2 minutes.

A major difference with the above mentioned device is that our design can move over a coplanar surface, much like a mouse. Can any of the above devices be used to play a game such as StarCraft? We’ll be releasing a video to show this.

Yes, the Trackpad is considered the most favored device and is used in 90%+ of all laptops for mouse pointer control. Just touch, drag and tap!

And let’s not forget the awesome BMW iDrive with force-feedback:

I don’t agree with your 10 year estimate. I think this is already happening with the Nintendo Wii and the Sony EyeToy.

I’m not sure why you’d even consider a touchscreen–this is for a TV isn’t it? Not too many people are within touching distance of their TV.

If your goal is to “educate people how to push buttons on the TV screen” then I don’t think you’ll find anything better than the Wii remote. This is the most ergonomic solution both cognitively and physically. Everyone knows how to point, but it takes training to learn how to use a device to point for them (like a mouse, trackpoint, trackpad, joystick, or your concept.)

I still see your concept as a Joystick, and I don’t understand why I’d want a joystick over the other solutions.

I meant the touchscreen remote like Logitech Harmony 1000.

I like the Wii remote too. Its advantages are easy to tell. But it’s not without drawbacks. Like it requires an absolute angle to point at the screen (I hope you know what I mean), unlike a bluetooth mouse which can be placed in whatever way. I found it difficult (and not ergonomic) to point at the bottom edge of the TV.

I don’t get why people keep on thinking our concept is a jobstick. (I’m happy if you can tell me why.) The BMW iDrive is exactly a good example that our concept is a different one. If the knob button of iDrive is to be moving over a coplanar surface, then they might violate a patent of our concept.

As the person who is trying to sell your own idea, I think that’s your job to find out why your message isn’t effective.

have you built any physical working prototype? I’d be more interested in that than an animation. I see a lot more areas that you need to sort out, which includes the physical feedback from moving and pressing. I also see problems when you move and press with the same finger, because like camera, when we want to set a long exposure, we will always use a remote trigger. The reason being no matter how light your button is, your finger’s pressure will definitely shake the device. This will affect the precision of the control.

Because you are manipulating a device in the x/y axis (coplaner surface) with a fixed boundary to move a cursor around a screen. From the users point of view, that’s exactly what a joystick does.

Why not explain how your invention is better than the alternatives?

It’s basically a button on a (linear) slide switch on a (linear) slide switch. It doesn’t have to be looked the same as in the video. Both slide switches may take many other forms, provided they make movements in 2 directions. It would also be able to use a vast varieties of linear position sensors, thus would be highly sensitive and accurate.

The problem of shaking is a very good question. Some people even clicking on the mouse button will shake the mouse. But this seems to be not common, and can improve with practice. Moreover this doesn’t seem to appear for the Wii controller which is also pressed while holding in the air.

(A shorten video has been uploaded: TV of Tomorrow - YouTube)

Please explain why your invention is better than the alternatives.

It seems like Touchpads are your key competitor. Here’s a good one for comparison:

First, it might be better to explain a bit about the shape of the presented design which I’d like to refer as “mouse switch”. As said before, the 2 slide switches may vary in shape, there may also be multiple buttons mounted on the top as well. For example, when a mouse switch is integrated to the right side of a keyboard, having 2 or 3 buttons will be practical. Moreover, it can also make the button rotate clockwise/anti-clockwise, which will serve the same purpose as the mouse scroll wheel.

In terms of capability, a mouse switch can better support all mouse operations than a touchpad, like left/right single/double click/dragging. While touchpad can sort of do the same, the mouse switch should be able to provide higher sensitivity, reliability and response by virtue of better sensing method. And of course, mouse switch will have tactile feedback and will not burn the finger. It’s also ease of use for everything will be under the finger tips of a single hand, and thus better user satisfaction.

In comparison with touchpad, a mouse switch may also serve as a joystick, just in the way many think it’s a joystick, since it can provide absolute position information. This is also an important benefit too.

In situation where tactile feed back is need, such as vehicle dashboard, game console controller or even cell phone, mouse switch would be better suit for the task as well.

Then how is it different from the playstation gamepad with the “joystick”, which later also appears on the xbox controllers?

It looks like you have a technology in search of a need.

My recommendation is to get a physical model and put it in front of users for feedback. Find out why they think your concept is better or worse than other pointing devices. This could be a quick and crude mockup without electronics just to test the ergonomics.

I would also develop a matrix to show how all of the various pointing devices compare against issues that matter most to users. Start by finding out what issues are important to users through a survey. Then create columns for each of the technologies, and in the rows, put the results of your survey (ie. “I need it to accurately point where I want it” and “I want it to be comfortable to use in my hand.”) Use a 1-5 rating scale for each cell, and add up the results for each column. Then have users tell you what they think the ratings should be (you might be surprised that their ratings are different than your own, but the customer is always right!)

I also recommend that you develop several alternatives. Designers know that your first idea is rarely the best or right idea (the best designers and inventors go through thousands of prototypes! Just ask Edison or Dyson.) Go broad, not deep. Inventors that ‘go deep’ to early tend to invest more than they should in a solution no one is interested in, and spend most of their time trying to convince people why the idea is great. Good designers are good listeners.

And here is a second approach, and I belief it’s the first ever successful method of integrating a mouse & keyboard, as well as solving the mouse cord problem. It’s not using another pointing device but just exactly a physical mouse & keyboard, thus providing the same look & feel of mouse + keyboard. It has the same benefits & ease of use & efficiency of conventional mouse + keyboard, and can provide even more, like higher precision (for using better sensing method), better desk space management, shorter hand travel distance, better portability, lighter weight (for the battery no longer needs to be inside the mouse). It can also function as a joystick too.

How the mouse cord moves:

Connections between mouse bottom & base:

Instead of the mouse cord coming out sideway of the mouse, the mouse cord comes out of the bottom of the mouse. A cavity on the mouse bottom allows the cord to move in one direction, and another cavity on the base (mouse pad/box) allows the cord to move in a second direction, thus enabling the cord to move freely in the x & y directions. It also allows the mouse to be lifted.

In terms of cost, it saves money by integrating the electronic circuitry, like only one single blue tooth transmitter is needed instead of 3 separate ones for a keyboard, mouse & joystick. What’s better than if one can hold a single compact piece of equipment on a coach and that can provide all mouse, keyboard & joystick functions with the same level of ease of use and with less cost than buying all 3?

But I’d like to hear what you think would be the biggest obstacles. It certainly help me to think more. (I have a third design but I don’t want to mix with this, so I may post it later on.)

Solving the mouse/cord problem?

I believe they’ve done that already, is called a wireless mouse.

Okay, now you’re on to something!
Always start with the user need like this.

I think it is possible that people would prefer using a mouse to a trackpoint or trackpad if you tethered the mouse to the keyboard like this. When I’m on the sofa, I don’t want to grab 2 things, I want to grab one thing, and I don’t want to find a surface to use a mouse on.

However, it still might be cheaper to do that in other ways:

  • Use a regular wireless mouse that ‘holds on’ to the surface with a magnet. The user can then pull the mouse off and use it on a tabletop.

  • Use a regular optical mouse that ‘holds on’ to the surface with the mechanism you’ve described. (The difference here is that there’s no new technology to develop and you benefit from cost savings of using mass-market mouse.)