Can a Pen Replace a Remote Control?


German Research Foundation Provides 300,000 Euros in Funding for AURA Research Project


If you can’t find the remote control or the batteries have run dry, you will have problems using your television. RWTH researchers are currently investigating the use of everyday objects as substitutes for interactive controllers such as remote controls: by pressing a box of tissues, for example, you could switch channels, or by turning a bottle, you could turn up the volume.

In this way, the application of everyday objects for non-intended uses could make users more independent from technical devices such as input controllers. Spontaneity and flexibility of use are necessary if, for example, a missing input devices has to be quickly replaced, e.g. for a presentation: If the remote control that helps you to navigate through your presentation is missing, you may be able to switch between slides by clicking the button of your ballpoint pen.

In the “AURA: Ad-Hoc Interaction With Non-Planar Objects” project, RWTH researcher Max Möllers is working on the classification of everyday objects, the development of theoretical models, and on the creation of a suitable software framework.

The research project, which receives funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the amount of 300,000 Euros over 36 months, is conducted at RWTH’s Chair of Computer Science 10 - Media Computing and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).