The dedicated remote got a kick in the pants on the day that smartphone apps became ubiquitous. But that was just the beginning of controlling devices in the home, because using fingers on a touch screen can now be replaced with gestures in the air. The singlecue Gen 2 works on the idea that it can “see” what you are doing and translate specific finger motions you make into actions on electronic devices. And do it well.
The singlecue Gen 2 looks a bit like the Kinnect that Xbox gamers know well. Its composed of a camera residing inside a small-ish rectangular bar whose base gives it a sturdy and stable positioning. Where you put it relies mostly on where it can most easily “see” you at all times: using it in a bedroom means putting it on the TV cabinet in front of the TV as if it was a sound bar, or because there’s a hook to its stand, it can go on top of some TVs (not the really thin ones obviously). The idea here being is not as to where the NAME looks the most attractive, but where it can “throw” its camera “eye” towards the person facing it. And with enough light for the camera to function (i.e., totally dark rooms are out).
So you take the singlecue Gen 2 out, put it into position and for power, you plug it into a wall outlet. At its most basic, it is going to function similarly to that of an infrared “blaster” to send commands to devices which have IR receiving panels (like TVs, cable boxes, Blu-ray players, etc.). But unlike standard infrared remotes, the singlecue Gen 2 also works through the home network, which is to say the wireless WiFi you already have working in your home. This allows for control over WiFi-enabled devices that would otherwise require an app to work. However there is a barrier for those whose networks are 5 Ghz only: the singlecue needs 2.4 Ghz, there can’t be a browser login and the network can’t be hidden or uses solely IPV6. That’s just how it is.
But regardless of how any device is going to receive commands, the singlecue Gen 2 must first be programming. To ease this along, a free iOS/Android app is provided that simplifies the integration of those devices that are going to be controlled. And allows for creating “activities” which can function in a manner similar to macros, for example turning the TV on in conjunction with a cable box or video player, etc. So now the singlecue Gen 2 is ready as it has over 100,000 devices in its database and automatically downloads updates as needed.
So instead of a remote and punching buttons, you’re using finger gestures to change the menus and icons seen on the singlecue Gen 2’s front facing panel. The gestures basically follow the guidelines of menu-driven commands: for example raising the finger brings up the main menu and you can scroll horizontally by moving your finger left or right. Pinch to “click” and up/down finger movements work as well. Finally, for a quick way to mute the audio, just bring your finger to your lips. Repeat again to return the volume to where it was. These gestures are simple and there’s no learning curve to speak of: just start doing it and you’ll know what is going on because you can see the effect happening in front of your eyes.
The singlecue Gen 2 retails for $149.00, but it’s hard to put a price on its convenience of eliminating the tons of remotes and apps needed to control those electronic devices you can’t live without that have taken residence in your home. About the only problem will be having to wait your turn because everybody is going to want to be the one to control it.