Staying in touch: how haptics Is changing the TV experience

Ferdinand Maier CEO ruwidoWatching television is no longer just about the programmes. With an ever-expanding array of channels, platforms and devices, consumers are in a better position than ever to dictate the viewing experience. They have almost unlimited choice in the content they watch – but not in the way they discover it, writes Ferdinand Maier, CEO of Ruwido.

Although consumers can choose from a wide range of sophisticated televisions, most remote controls have not dramatically changed in 60 years. One study from the University of Salzburg, titled “Trends In the Living Room and Beyond”, concluded that remote controls were often seen as too complex and difficult to use. So the challenge remains to understand how to make content discovery more intuitive and natural – and therefore make content more easily accessible.

Today, innovation in programme discovery and television control is driving new techniques to make the viewing experience more intuitive. From smartphones to virtual reality systems, haptics is being introduced across a whole range of consumer technology. Haptics technology provides tactile feedback using vibration, force and motion. And now haptics technology has been developed that improves the user experience in the TV space. So how can haptics benefit the television viewing experience?

When it comes to television, users want technology that makes life easier and helps them get the most from their content. According to a recent Nickelodeon Kids and Family GPS report, improving navigation is vital for content providers because consumers, especially kids, want easy ways to access content. The global project found that, among four to 11 year olds, linear TV (watched by 92 percent of participants) dominates cable video on demand (watched by 46 percent of participants) and OTT video on demand like Netflix (watched by 46 percent of participants) because they “know how to use it on their own”.

By offering a more sensory experience, haptic feedback promises to give the user control when navigating through the user interface. So how does a haptics remote work? As the thumb presses down on the device, it triggers a resistance in the button that enables information to be shuttled back and forth between the central nervous system and the point of contact. The whole process develops a more sensory user experience which more closely measures the intentions of the user. So if you want to scroll faster, press harder; if you want to slow down, then reduce the pressure. By applying varying degrees of pressure, users can control their scrolling speed.

The technology gives the user more control over how they interact with content. Although consumers tune in to watch programmes, it is the whole viewing experience (including the look and feel) which matters to them. This means the remote control has the potential to make navigation an event in itself. It is all part of the shift towards making television a more enjoyable “lean back” experience.

Austria-based ruwido, which develops and manufactures input devices in the context of the home, has integrated an organic haptic interaction mechanism into the design of its latest r147 remote control. The haptic feedback mechanism is customisable and combines relative mapping with precise sensory feedback to support a more natural interaction with the user interface.

With all the new developments in the television industry, the one story that unites them is that users are in control. And now, research suggests it’s time to update the television discovery experience. Hunting for your favourite programme one click at a time may soon be a thing of the past. Today, consumers are looking for an intuitive technology that takes television to the next level.


Tags: Ruwido

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