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Surprising Science

Gestures Create A New Type Of Universal Remote Control

WiSee uses an existing wi-fi connection to enable people to control electronic devices like TVs or stereos with gestures…and they don’t even have to be in the same room.

What’s the Latest Development?

Couch potatoes rejoice: Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a prototypical system, WiSee, that works with an existing wi-fi connection to allow a person in the kitchen, for example, to change the channel on their living room TV with just a gesture. A receiver “sees” gestures by intercepting changes in the signals moving through and away from human bodies, and interprets them as commands that can be sent to electronic devices in the home. The team’s work on WiSee has been submitted for inclusion in the upcoming ACM International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (Mobicom).

What’s the Big Idea?

Unlike systems like Kinect, which require cameras in order to see and interpret gestures, WiSee doesn’t require the person to be in the same room as the receiver or the device being affected. It also uses multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology to recognize gestures from different people, which could pose a problem, says team member Sidhant Gupta: “Someone walking by your house should not be able to turn your kettle on by waving his arms.” Making WiSee more secure is one of the improvements the team plans to include in the future.

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Read it at Ars Technica


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