The machine vision company called eyeSight Technologies gained a lot of press last year when it announced onecue (now renamed singlecue), a gesture controlled smart home solution.
The singlecue is like a Microsoft Kinect you can put on top of any TV to replace all the remotes in your entertainment center with gesture controls. If that doesn’t make complete sense, the promotional video does a decent job explaining the concept:
eyeSight Technologies is the same company responsible for gesture control technology built into some Samsung smart TV’s so it’s not surprising that they would create a product that allows one to add similar functionality to any TV while also gaining control over the rest of their home entertainment center and a few other devices in the home.
From the presskit I found the following specs on the device as well as a list of compatible hardware that can be controlled:
singlecue Tech Specs
- 3.0″ LCD Display
- High performance CPU
- WiFi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.0/LE
- micro-USB port
- Built-in InfraRed learner and transmitter
- Internal speaker
- Adjustable universal TV / Shelf mount
- Dimensions (excluding mount): width: 234.7mm, height: 49.1mm, depth: 28.6mm
- 5V Power Supply (Included)
singlecue Supported Devices
- IR controlled devices
- Players (Blu-ray, DVD, CD)
- AV Receivers
- Media players (Apple TV)
- IR light switches
- IR power outlets
- IR blinds/shades
- Wi-fi controlled devices
- Nest thermostat
- Phillips Hue
When I first saw this product I was really excited because I liked the form factor and thought the gesture control was very cool. It reminded me of an idea I had for a similar product that I became so enamored with I found a company called PointGrab with a similar technology and e-mailed them for licensing details. PointGrab never e-mailed me back, but they have a free iOS app called CamMe you can download that demonstrates their technology by giving you gesture control over you iPhone or iPad’s front facing camera.
While PointGrab’s user interface is more intuitive it’s slower and less powerful. And, the closer I looked at singlecue the more I realized the product has some glaring holes causing it to fall short of even a full smart home hub let alone a serious home automation solution:
- No Z-wave or Zigbee Radios
- No Voice Control
- No Smart Phone or Web Apps
- Have to Learn (and teach strangers) singlecue’s Gestures
I’m not sure that singlecue can be programmed with particular scenes either.
Lacking Z-Wave and Zigbee support means you will be limited to wifi, bluetooth and IR devices that singlecue supports. That’s no so bad because more, albeit expensive, wifi smart home devices are beings created and sold every day.
Lack of voice control, smart phone apps and web apps means the only way you can control singlecue is if you are sitting or standing in front of it. There will be no turning on or off lights though the cloud while you are in another room or away from home unless your smart home device supports that through another channel. That’s also not so bad because most smart home devices like Nest and Hue provide apps that may provide the remote control functionality singlecue lacks.
It’s the combination of all these limitations that is the problem for me. It seems the main use of singlecue is just to eliminate all the remote controls in your home entertainment center in exchange for having to teach family and friends sign language.
There is one more redeeming quality of singlecue however, and that is you don’t need to connect it to a TV thanks to the display on the front of the device. The display on the front provides feedback that your gestures are being recognized and what you are controlling so its conceivable to use it in a stand-alone fashion which may be useful to someone’s application.
At best I think singlecue can provide customers with a smart home theater experience. This experience also may not be very convenient for other members of the family since everyone will have to learn and remember singlecue’s specific gestures which I imagine will be like learning a little bit of sign language.
If you like the concept or find that it will suit your purposes you can pre-order it now from the single cue website for $70 dollars off the future retail price of $199.