h a l f b a k e r y
I didn't say you were on to something, I said you were on something.
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Hookup a webcam to a PC/microcontroller device. Wave your hand towards the device you wish to control and give a predetermined signal.
e.g. if you want to switch off a ceiling fan, Wave your hands towards the fan and give it a thumbs down. A Webcam sees your actions and interprets it and a home automation
system executes your wish (it's command).
No need of actual remote. This can work for anything, like TV, microwave, VCR, gramophone or any other electronic/electric device.
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||I'm pretty sure that this is the intended use of the Microsoft Kinect. Its being deployed on the xbox, but i'm pretty sure I read that the technology is intended to operate everything from tvs to microwaves using only voice and motion. No searching for remotes.