Startup Piccolo uses gestures to enable home automation

Startup Piccolo uses gestures to enable home automation
Voice assistant may be the hottest means of home automation today. However, a team called Piccolo Labs is looking into motion and gesture commands with a camera at home to enable automation.

“Vision assistant” is the name given by the team. Once the camera is placed in a fixed position at home, users can start to use the companion app and drag boxes over the screen to indicate locations of connected devices like smart TVs or lights.

The camera will then record users’ geometry, or the so-called skeletal tracking, to put users’ movement into a model. With this process, the camera will know when a user is pointing the hand to a smart light, and then turn it on or off.

Other possible command gestures include swiping the hand to the left to fast-forward a TV show, or swinging hand around to change a fan’s operating modes.

Thanks to Piccolo’s patented Gesture Recognition Pipeline (GRP) technology, the camera is able to reconstruct a homeowner’s 3D body, track motions, estimate poses and identify people and gestures in almost real-time with deep learning technology.

On its website Piccolo claims to support smart home devices including Apple TV, Google Chromecast and devices from Philips Hue, Dyson and TP-Link.

While the product and the underlying technology are still not completely understandable, they offer another means of control for future homes. Piccolo said it isn’t trying to replace Amazon Echo or Google Home, but just offering another option for the people who have privacy concerns with always-listening devices.

Although Piccolo’s innovations is still in the early days, with the fast-progressing computer vision and artificial intelligence technologies, indoor camera does have the potential to become the next automation control assistant.

The solution from Piccolo Labs is still in pilot. The team is considering to launch the real product via a crowdfunding campaign.


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