I’m sure you’ll agree that commercial breaks on TV can be incredibly frustrating. When you’re on your sofa watching your favourite show, you really don’t want to have to see the latest kitchen cleaning product (again) or listen to a sales pitch telling you why you should switch insurance companies.
A common way around this problem is to record the show you want to watch, then come back to it later and skip the breaks. But what about when you absolutely have to watch the show live? What about watching sports on TV? A lot of the time, it’s no good watching a show hours or days after everyone else. So that means you just have to put up with the ads. Right?
Well, maybe not for long. A team of Arizona State University (ASU) engineering majors have designed a device to solve this problem. The device detects commercial breaks in a real-time video feed and then offers the viewer alternative content. A viewer can then switch to another show or internet content until the commercial break ends and the show they were watching is back.
The design team, named Team Adskip, recently entered a prototype of the device in the Intel Cup Embedded Systems Design Contest. Team Adskip was the only entry from a U.S. team and they were up against around 160 other student teams from 12 countries. Their work scored well against the competition criteria of originality, degree of difficulty and usefulness, and the team were awarded the second place prize. This is the first time a team from ASU has taken part in the competition which was established in 2002.
The members of Team Adskip were understandably pleased with the result. After the event, Chris Mcbride said “It was a great opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and participate in an international event.”
This technology is still in the very early stages and it could be a while before it becomes widely available. However, team Adskip have demonstrated its feasibility, and the days of sitting though long commercial breaks could be numbered.
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