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CRISTAL combines 'The Sims' and Surface for full room control

Joshua Topolsky
08.15.09
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Have you ever yearned for more immediate control over your surroundings? No, we don't mean Magneto car-flipping abilities. We mean more like wrangling all of the gear in a room into some kind of understandable and connected system. If you said yes -- and you're a Sims aficionado -- you'll want to check into CRISTAL. We're not talking expensive champagne here, we're talking about the "Control of Remotely Interfaced Systems using Touch-based Actions in Living spaces" system (c'mon, it sort of makes sense). The premise is simple: instead of having to juggle multiple remotes and input systems to deal with a room full of technology, CRISTAL merges a Surface-like touch area (your coffee table in this scenario), an overhead camera, and connected devices to form a frighteningly intuitive control scheme. The idea allows for all sorts of handy arrangements, like being able to virtually drag media from a server on one side of the room to your TV on the other, dim lights in a particular area by swiping on that location, or draw a path for a Roomba to clean using the overhead view. Right now this is just a research project, of course, but the team working on the concept believes costs could move down from the astronomic $10,000-$15,000 the setup would cost now to a more affordable range. Until that happens, you'll have the video of CRISTAL in action after the break.

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