Controlling gadgets with a mere nod

Remember how Barbara Eden of "I Dream of Jeannie" used to change the TV channel with that cute little nod of her head?

Well, that's how the rest of us may be channel surfing and switching iPod tracks one day, Scottish researchers say.

According to a BBC News report, scientists at the University of Glasgow have been developing "audio clouds" to control gadgets using movement and sound (as opposed to the visually based machines of today, which, needless to say, can be a bit tough to navigate on the move).

"We hope to develop interfaces that are truly mobile, allowing users to concentrate on the real world while interacting with their mobile device as naturally as if they were talking to a friend while walking," Stephen Brewster, a professor of human computer interaction, told the BBC.

Put in layman's terms, it may not be long before you can talk into your cell phone headset, play with your PDA and toggle between songs on your MP3 player--all while looking both ways crossing the street.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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