Yawn. Another gesture control gimmick.
OK, we’ll admit it: touch-free device control is no new pursuit. Bixi, though, is a bit different. It plays nice with a host of smart home kit, such as Philips Hue bulbs, Sonos systems, Nest and more, pairing through your smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to send instructions bouncing around the house.
Isn’t it a bit Jean-Michel Jarre? You know, with the lasers?
Not lasers – optical sensors. Bixi takes highly precise light measurements to figure out what your hand is doing, so that it can convert your mid-air motions into commands for your kit. From swipes to waves to air-taps, it’ll compute a host of gestures; simply load up the relevant profile and it’ll figure out whether you want to pause a song or dim the lights. It gets better with age, too, thanks to machine learning smarts.
But I’ve got an Amazon Echo - who needs to wave, when you can speak?
Actually, a lot of people. Can you take your Echo on a bike ride? Thought not. Even if you strapped a Dot to your frame, you’d have to shout pretty loud. Stick a Bixi on your handlebars, though, and you can wave to do all sorts. Pair it with a GoPro, for example, and in one smooth sweep of your palm you can start recording, without the faff - and fear - of going hands-free to fiddle with its buttons.
Won’t the cables get in the way whilst I’m whizzing down the road?
It’s battery-powered, obviously. In fact, it’ll last a whole month on a single charge. Like a puppy, it spends a lot of time sleeping - only waking when it detects a stable paw hovering above it. The partner app shouldn’t sap your smartphone’s cell, either, thanks to its use of Low Energy Bluetooth.
Can I take it swimming?
We’re not sure why you’d want to, but no, you can’t. Bixi does, though, have some rugged credentials up its smart sleeve. It’s splashproof - perfect for waving whilst washing up – and packs a Gorilla Glass frontage for ham-fisted gesturers. Which is good because, with such a dinky shell, you’ll be wanting to take it everywhere.
Maybe I’ll try one, then…
You can’t – yet. What you can do is put your dollar down for a Bixi over at Indiegogo and, all being well, you should get it in March 2017. The project has already received more than four times its original funding goal - so things are looking good.