Control Your Home With Gestures: Good Idea/Bad Idea?

I've seen several people talk about Fibaro's Swipe gesture control panel in the past few days. It's essentially a Z-Wave control panel that recognizes different gestures and combinations of gestures to do various things on control systems.

It's sort of interesting because it can be hidden, either looking like a photo frame or placed under/behind surfaces (walls, tables, counters).

However, with voice control, whether it's Siri or Amazon Alexa, becoming more common, it seems a little late for something like this. I'd also be curious how accurately it detects these gestures, especially through surfaces.

What do you think?

Can I vote interesting? I am still undecided; I have had several customers ask us if we integrate with IFTTT and Alexa recently (these are not small-time residences either, specificaly for voice command). Home Automation is certainly becoming more popular; we sell a home automation device with almost every system now. I would expect technology like this to grow in popularity in the years to come. My guess is this stuff will not become more widespread until Millenials takeover.

This reminds me of when Nest disabled 'Wave' gesturing (which they've never turned back on) because motions could been misinterpreted by the smoke detector.

Gesturing seems cool, but might kick off more problems that it is worth.

This could be a good thing, if they could fine tune it.. I know I have turned off the Gestures on my Galaxy simply because it seemed like I could never get it to do what i want. I would think they'd have a similar problem with systems for security/access. They would have to make the gestures over-generalized, or they will be spending a while getting the recognition software down to a 'T'. IMHO.

"However, with voice control, whether it's Siri or Amazon Alexa, becoming more common, it seems a little late for something like this."

What if the person can't speak/is disabled? This would give people alternatives to the Siri s and Alexas of the tech world.

Also, it would make me feel like a Jedi. Very interested.

Works well for an Xbox, but not sure I want it used for any security based device.

However, with voice control, whether it's Siri or Amazon Alexa, becoming more common, it seems a little late for something like this.

Anyone who has Alexa will tell you it's great if your a bachelor, less so the more people in the room. Waiting for clear space during a get together to be understood can be frustrating, and kids make it even tougher. Even with two people having to stop your conversation to turn the music down (though novel the first few times you do it), is awkward. A simple understood gesture would be preferable.

And never make the mistake of talking about it with non-Alexa owners, where it can hear you. "Hey, what if you told your Alexa to erase your hard drive, would it do it?"... "Drive C: is erased. Would you like to format it now?"

Don't get me wrong, the thing is amazing at deciphering speech, but it does have it limitations. So gestures in addition would be great at least until they get the direct mind interface working better.

I see it being problematic with picking up on just everyday movement, especially of visitors who don't know it's there.

Kind of like the one restaurant I worked in that had all these tiny little unisex bathrooms, all with motion-activated sink, garbage, soap, towel, and flush... they were so small, and the motion sensors so sensitive, that just walking into one and closing the door would set everything off.

Thanks for the high level overview of false alarm / challenging control with Alexa.

In security, excessive false alarms can be mitigated with overlapped or layered sensing, provided Bayesian logic is accessible.

Similarly, it would be interesting to see if integrated gesture + voice is more powerful and workable together than either one would be, by itself. One imagines a high fantasy setting in which physical gestures accompany incantations to achieve effects.

While our kids might love the ability to create their own in-home MagicQuest scenarios, could we find ourselves singing and dancing just to close the garage door?

I think both is best. Giving Alexa her due, yesterday, without knowing what the response would be, I asked "What time is the Barnes & Noble open til?". Within 2 seconds she gave the address and the closing time of the nearest store, despite the obvious B&N Amazon book selling rivalry.

Everything but, "You better get moving now if you wanna make it!"

On the other hand, an equally pithy gesture, would perhaps require a mime-adapted context-free grammar of the like which I have no desire to consider further.

I can see people doing the gesture a little off and then getting aggravated when things aren't working right.

A lot of things like flipping a light switch off is just as simple by flipping the switch off with your hand as it is to wave your hand down in front of a gesture sensor.

I'm sure for some applications they might make sense, I just haven't thought of any yet.

I can see people doing the gesture a little off and then getting aggravated when things aren't working right.

Yes, absolutely, one failed gesture can lead to a gesture of a different type, one that never fails ;)

I once worked for a company that replaced the light switch in the conference room with a touch screen keypad, so the simple task of turning on the lights become a blood pressure raising, frustrating waste of time. But some people thought it was cool.

It has been pointed out that the only reason mechanical clocks where designed the way they were was because they did not have the technology in the 1700's to do it any other way. Now that we have the digital technology to free ourselves from those constraints, why does my Windows 7 machine display the time with a mechanical clock? Digital clocks are so much easier to read...

The same has been said for emulating lens flare in video games...

I guess if there is a romantic element to a technology then there is a market for it and it will sell, even if it makes no practical sense.

Digital clocks are so much easier to read...


To read to one-minute precision, yes.


To read to five-minute precision, no.

Sure, but what I am talking about is the situation where you have the choice of rendering either a digital or mechanical clock face on a modern computer/tablet screen in a given size.

What makes the clock hard to read above is that it is an older style 7 segment LED display rendering black text on a grey background. If it were an ordinary bold font on a white background, with no seconds, and enlarged to be roughly the same size as the bottom clock, would you still reckon most people would find the mechanical clock easier to read?

My daughters homework, from yesterday.

Although it may seem incriminating, I swear I received no help from her with my post, and insist this is just a strange coincidence. :)

Yes, but that because she wasn't pressing hard enough with the crayons. Should look like this :-).

I am worried VMS companies will take notice of your posts and start replacling the clocks on their timelines with analog ones :-).

EDIT: seriously though, I do know what you mean. I confess I do actually have a wall clock in my living room similar to the one you originally posted and to be honest it works well, and I wouldn't want to replace it.

Well, her A to D conversion may be of higher quality than her D to A:

At a quick glance, my brain seems to perceive the time better with the analog clock.

Ones perception may have to do with your age. If you grew up looking at nothing but analog watches and clocks, that may be the way your brain is wired.

As far as gestures to control the home and security system, it's kind of like the change of going from mouse to touchscreen on a computer. I personally find a mouse far more precise and efficient than a touch screen and constantly watch people struggle and complain about touch screen control, yet that's the way things are going.

I think gesture control should be used in situations where they make things simpler and more efficient, perhaps for handicapped people.

Let me make my point this way. Below is my Windows 7 Clock - unlike the wall clock that undisclosed-1 posted, it isn't designed to be easy to read, it is just there to look good. It has no numerals, it is monochromatic, the second hand is almost invisible and the clock face has a reflection in it - of what? surely there is no need to replicate a reflection in a digitally rendered clock other than it has a certain coolness or romantic aspect to it in the minds of some. If it were meant to be easy to read it would look more like the wall clock undisclosed-1 posted.

So my point is a product can be slightly less than practical but apparently the market is such that the "coolness" or "romantic" aspect can make up for it. I am not sure to what extent this point applies to gestures, I' haven't used them, but this was the though that came to mind when watching the advert.

WIndows 7 clock

I don't want to side track the thread with a discussion about clocks :-), but I would find this much easier to read.

Killer app: ASL

Beyond the core ASL constituency, it might also help expose the odd gesticulating funeral charlatan in the moment, rather than days later...