Navigate...in 3D!

This year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was a brilliant way for the industry to start 2006. With over 150,000 attendees and 2,500 exhibitors, the show was nothing short of massive. Rather than give a run down of everything that happened during the four day event, we thought we'd talk about one of our favourite gadgets instead.

Developed by Hillcrest Labs, Spontaneous NavigationTM is a new navigation system, utilising 3D space and a unique, two-button remote control to give users never before seen access to content navigation in a digital environment.

In addition to revolutionising digital navigation, Spontaneous NavigationTM will be able to 'universalise' it, so that all your home entertainment products, from your massive LCD screen and surround sound theatre system, to your MP3 player and mobile phone, will all use the same navigation system, making operating and integrating digital devices easier than ever.

Spontaneous Navigation
Spontaneous Navigation

The technology combines three key elements, according to the Hillcrest website - "FreespaceTM 3-D pointing, a patented remote control technology that uses natural gestures to select on-screen information; Visual DirectoriesTM, which provide graphical presentation of content options; and a server-based relational database that manages application metadata and creates appropriate content linkages." At the most basic level, Spontaneous NavigationTM takes controls that are usually found on a remote control (volume, channel select, menu navigation, etc) and displays them on the user's television, controlling them with two buttons and a scroll wheel. This is a fairly revolutionary concept, allowing multiple devices to be controlled through not only the same controller, but the same interface. There's more to it than that however. Spontaneous NavigationTM gives users access to a simple, intuitive content management and navigation system, allowing them to browse their photo, music and movie libraries, or order movies on demand (a service that hasn't yet reached Australian audiences on a large scale).

How well the technology works is yet to be seen, but if it's as simple and easy to use as it looks, then it could herald a new way of navigating and controlling digital content. Certainly, it's something we're looking forward to being able to get our hands on!

More information on the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show can be found here.

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Benjamin Russell

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