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No Remote Required: Controlling Qbo with Hand Signals

Researchers at TheCorpora have endowed Qbo with the ability to recognize some set hand signals with its stereoscopic cameras.  They’ve implemented it in a music player function, which turns the little robot into a mobile stereo system.

You make a fist to begin playing a song, which can also pause playback if a song is in play.  Holding out your hand in a natural “stop” motion stops playback.  You can scroll through your playlist by pointing left with your index finger to go back, or forward by sticking out your thumb to the right, with Qbo dutifully announcing the title and artist of each track.  If you make a “V” symbol with your fingers (like the “peace” sign), the robot will increase its volume.  If you make the same symbol, but with your fingers pointed down, it lowers the volume.  As a nice touch, Qbo’s LED array “mouth” lights up as a sort of equalizer during playback.


Voice commands would be more natural, but it’s possible the robot may have difficulty distinguishing your voice from loud music, especially when being played next to its microphones.  We’ve covered some music playing robots before (see Rolly, Miuro, and AMP), but those robots were designed only as music players – they couldn’t do anything else.

[source: TheCorpora]

  • alex

    I must say those hand sings look pretty stupid

    • I think they’re pretty natural and easy to remember.  What signals would you have used?

      • alex

        I would try to use voice recognition or a remote :) It just looks stupid for me if I had to use such sings to control a music player (I would feel like an idiot).
        If I would want to try hand sings recognition I would probably use it to control the movements of the robot, like: stop, follow me, turn left/right, go backwards…

        • arturo

          Voice recognition would fail while the music is playing, because the loudspeakers are close to the robot’s mic. Having seen this demo, I would say that it would be very easy to adapt it so as to control the robot’s movement. These are only experiments of what the robot can do.