Sure, you can get a universal remote control to change TV channels, your stereo, Apple TV, even your lights, but what if you could do all that just by lifting your finger? Eyesight Technologies' Singlecue uses a camera to track the movement of your finger, and then relays those commands to your home entertainment system. I went hands-on with this device, available for $199, to see how practical it was for high-tech couch potatoes.
The Singlecue is about the size of the Xbox Kinect camera; it's about 6 inches long, and in addition to a camera, it has a small display on its front, to help you see what device it is you're controlling. It's designed to sit in front of your TV, and will pick up your gestures from about 16.5 feet away.
To configure the Singlecue, you have to download its accompanying app for Android and iOS, and then set it up to talk to the devices you own. It supports a large number of devices, including Samsung, Sony and Panasonic TVs; TiVo, DirecTV, Comcast and Xfinity cable boxes; AppleTV, Roku and the XBox One. In the near future, the company says it will also work work smart home hubs, lighting and other home theater and audio systems.
I sat back on the couch, and raised my finger. The demo unit I tested was a little finicky, but I quickly got the hang of it. I was surprised that I only had to make very subtle movements; simply waving my finger back and forth — like you're tsk-tsking someone — was enough to change menus. Pinching my index finger and thumb let me make selections, such as changing the channel or raising or lowering the volume.
The coolest gesture, though, was when I raised my finger to my lips; the Singlecue then muted the system. Repeating the gesture turned the sound back on.
In all, the Singlecue is a pretty neat technology. I like that I didn't have to wave my hand around wildly for it to work, and that the gestures were very easy to learn. Will it replace the universal remote control anytime soon? That, I'm not sure about, but if Eyesight's technology becomes embedded in TVs, it very well might. At the very least, you won't have to dig through couch cushions to find the remote anymore.
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Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.