sensaTV is a novel television remote control embedded into the coffee table. It is designed as a five petal flower, each representing a group of similar-content channels,
such that each petal will allow you to browse between the channels of the content group, using a knob that moves on the petal periphery. Once in the vicinity of a channel, the knob will be attracted into place and the channel will change. On each channel change, an index appears on the screen, graphically pointing out your location within the channel group and providing information about the group, the channel and the show being broadcast at the moment.
The existing TV remote controls are products of technological advances and cost-reduction considerations, with little thought given to user experience. We set out to examine the way in which we browse channels. Instead of going up and down an arbitrary numeric scale, or typing up to 3-digit channel code, we suggest a physical and mental browsing map. The route and location of the channel is dictated by its contents.
On the outline of the flower we’ve created a route, in which a knob-controller can move. On locations along the route we’ve defined spots for channels, and set magnets to create tactile attraction. This way you can sense approaching and changing of a channel without looking down – which is useful when watching TV. In our prototype, we placed a ‘Fiducial’ marker at the bottom end of the free-moving knob. A web camera tracks the knob and CCV software identifies the location of the marker and feeds the information to our Flash based software which displays the relevant information on the television screen.