Two English inventors first to market with buttonless remote control
Kymera Magic Wand within its exclusive Box
Two English inventors, Chris Barnardo and Richard Blakesley are leading the way in a remote control revolution that will have users controlling their home entertainment systems with natural and intuitive gestures instead of button presses.
Developed over the last two years, the Kymera Wand is the latest consumer electronics gadget to employ emerging motion detection technology to give the user a richer and more intuitive user interface. Technically the Kymera Wand is a universal remote control, but as Chris Barnardo explains, that that was not what was originally intended by the design.
“Essentially we set out to design a magic wand that uses modern remote control technology to give the user a magical experience.” Says Barnardo.
“The result not only delivers a magical experience but is the first gesture based remote control that doesn’t have any buttons,” Barnardo adds.
Both the packaging and website have also been very carefully designed to be part of the fantasy experience. Visiting the non-traditional website is like a voyage of discovery, and opening the Chic black Kymera Wand box for the first time and seeing the dark brown, elegant wand cradled in its luxurious silk brocade, certainly does set the heart racing. But don’t be fooled, the old fashioned look and feel of the wand hides a highly advanced piece of technology.
The wand understands 13 different movement “gestures”, each of which can learn and replay the remote control function from any button on almost any existing infra-red (IR) remote control. All of which means that the Kymera Wand can be used not just for changing channels on your TV but for controlling hi-fis, DVD players, set-top boxes, iPod docks, Apple Macs and even remote-controlled light switches and curtains for example.
Kymera Wand Rear View
The technology that powers the wand is based on science, but it is so advanced and so miniaturised that it might as well be magic.
Based on the advances in motion sensing, the accelerometer that tells the wand’s microprocessor how hard it is and in which direction accelerating was originally developed for use in cars. These tiny silicon architectures are microscopically small but can detect the force of gravity even at rest. They are the sort of thing that detects if you are slowing down very rapidly in a traffic accident and signals for the airbag to deploy, or you’ll find them in mobile phones and cameras telling the device which way up to put the picture.
The wand has a special three axis accelerometer that can measure the g force in x-y-and –z. Using this information, and constantly updating the programme for the orientation of the wand, a special program on the onboard microprocessor can tell how the wand is being moved about.
Using some clever maths the microprocessor determines if the move made by the wand bearer was a deliberate on and if so, whether or not it was one of the predefined gestures programmed into it at manufacture. If it recognises the gesture then the wand’s microprocessor plays back the infra red remote code that it has been taught by the user to associate with that gesture.
A very small vibration motor similar to that found in a mobile phone gently pulses inside the wand to give what is called haptic feedback to the user so that they know that the wand has understood the gesture and has emitted an infrared remote control code.
The whole assembly is squeezed into the shape of a wand, and put together so that there are no visible seams and no unsightly screws to give the game away and that’s it, the Kymera Wand.
It’s simple really.
Spin back 50 or 100 years and what the wand does would have been real magic, but if you spin back a further 200 years it’s likely you would have been burnt at the stake for using the Kymera Wand. But then you wouldn’t have had a 72inch plasma screen to magically control.
© C.Barnardo The Wand Company 2009