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Hillcrest Labs’ Loop promises media center freedom

If you’ve always thought that mid-air motion control was a gimmick best left to consoles, think again: Hillcrest Labs has developed the Loop, a pointing device designed to make it significantly easier to control your media center PC.

Looking like a futuristic bracelet, the Loop uses Freespace motion control to allow precise and intuitive cursor control from clear across the room – and the company claims that, unlike a wireless mouse or trackball, it works when your hand is in any position.

Using an included USB wireless adapter operating on the 2.4GHz spectrum – which works just as well with Macs as PCs, and even supports controlling the in-built web browser on Sony’s PlayStation 3 console – the company claims that the device will operate from anywhere in the room, even if your media centre PC or console is hidden behind a closed cabinet door.  There is a maximum range to the device, but it’s a massive 33 feet – more than enough for the average living room or den.

Hillcrest claims that the Loop is the first in-air remote designed specifically for the ‘ten-foot experience’ – the unique control requirements demanded of an entertainment system, where the user is significantly further away from the display than with a traditional PC.

As it’s a mid-air device, it doesn’t require a surface – making it, in theory, the idea living room companion.  Just tilting and moving the pointer is enough to control the cursor – and Hillcrest claims to have solved some of the control problems that over-sensitive competitors can have with its patented Freespace sensing technology.

At 4.9oz, the 4.8in by 1.2in device is pretty portable too – and the company claims it’s the perfect gadget for a laptop users to carry around in case of impromptu presentation, where it can be used in place of a traditional presentation remote to control PowerPoint and other applications from a distance.

Motion control is a tricky thing to get right, however, and while reviews of Hillcrest Labs’ Loop have been largely positive, it’s a device that will take a bit of getting used to – and will likely engender a love it or hate it response from its users.

Thankfully, the company isn’t making it too expensive to try the device out for yourself: unlike dedicated presentation remotes, which admittedly often include a laser pointer so you can pretend you’re a sniper or a Borg drone, the Hillcrest Labs Loop costs just $49.

More details on the device are available on Hillcrest Labs’ website.


1 Comment

  1. Samantha says:

    this gadget is sweet! looks like some futuristic stuff from an 80’s sci-fi movie, but cool none-the-less. When are you guys gonna review the Loftek M-Click? Its cute and good for HTPC

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