'Smart' TV remote promises to recognize who you are

Intel is working on a TV remote that will measure your grip, button-pushing force, and hold angle so that it will recognize the user.

Couch potatoes rejoice! Intel is working on a TV remote that will learn who you really are.

In the coming months, televisions that fulfill the promise of combining conventional entertainment with the Internet will begin hitting the shelves. However, without a QWERTY keyboard, logging into the different accounts that personalize the Internet, and Internet-linked TV, experience becomes prohibitively tedious.

That’s where Intel’s new biometric sensing remote control comes in. With special sensors, the remote can differentiate between different users, and instantly customize the Internet and TV experience depending on who holds the device.

“With the TV becoming more intelligent, you can have your own applications, your own background, your own set of movies or music,” said Mariano Philippe, an applied researcher in Intel’s digital home group who helped design the remote. “[The remote] can personalize the experience for the users.”

Fitted with pressure sensors and an accelerometer like in the Wii controller, the Intel remote control measures 372 different handling characteristics, Philippe said.

Those 372 characteristics, which include handling elements such as grip shape, button-pushing force and hold angle, are largely unique to each person, and act like a fingerprint.

In a test, the remote control learned to distinguish the different handling profiles of up to four users over a course of six days. After that time, the remote had a 70 percent chance of correctly identifying who is holding it, Philippe said.

It will still be a number of years before these remotes hit the market, and in fact may be some time before televisions advanced enough to handle them go on sale. However, when the computer and the TV finally do merge, logging into a personalized experience could be as easy as picking up the clicker.

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