Remember ‘Minority Report‘? After that movie came out, tech developers seemed to lose track of everything that wasn’t a fancy hands-on interface. This started out simply enough, with an increase in the amount of touchscreen phones hitting the market. But the new range of motion control products takes it too far.
There’s a reason things are described as “easy as pushing a button”. Pushing a button just might be the least amount of physical work that it’s possible to do. I feel safe in saying that there is no one on earth – excluding those with disabilities of course – who thinks that pushing a button to change the channel is a difficult process. It’s the single most efficient way to do anything. The only way to improve upon it is to make a better button, or maybe thought-controlled remotes.
Motion controls may look good on paper, but in reality they’re just a painfully slow and difficult way to accomplish something simple. It’s like running, or hunting with a bow and arrow, or getting movies from Blockbuster. Those were once essential to survival, but now they’re only done for fun or adventure, or because a Blockbuster is closing and the sales are really good.
Take LG’s LX9500 line of televisions, for example. If you’re so inclined, you can forgo the remote and operate the television’s controls without the need to hold a plastic device. Instead of having to push a button with your thumb or finger to raise the volume, you simply lift your arm into the air, make the appropriate motion, and hope that the television recognizes this. What could be simpler?
Now consider Microsoft’s Kinect. It’s an exciting device that’s almost certain to have great applications – but sorting through my Netflix queue isn’t one of them. Why bother tapping the bumpers and left analog stick a few times when you could wave your hands around like a lunatic? There’s even playback control with Kinect. Instead of hitting the start button to pause the movie instantly, you’ll have to hold out your hand until the device registers it for long enough that it knows to stop. Talk about inconvenience. Give me my remote back!