Microsoft SoundWave – like Kinect without a camera

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Microsoft’s Kinect has been used for multiple applications outside of the gaming arena but now Microsoft researchers have come up with a very similar concept motion-sensing concept that discards the whole camera detection thing in the process.

Microsoft Research recently unveiled SoundWave, a system that has some of the functionality of Kinect but with none of the additional hardware. It works by detecting gestures, allowing users to perform actions on laptop computers with a wave of their hands. And it does it all using the built-in speaker and mic.

The Doppler Effect is used to turn otherwise pointless hand-waving into useful actions. SoundWave transmits an inaudible tone from a PC’s speakers and picks up interruptions in the frequency of the tone, caused by waving your hand in front of the PC, turning them into commands. The gesture interpreted depends on how the interruption is made.

Visit here to see the SoundWave system in action and to get a little more information on how the project works. The video on Microsoft’s site shows SoundWave responding to gestures (including two-handed motions) in a variety of conditions and functioning when the laptop it is being used on is playing music.

It might take a while to jump from the research lab to the home or office but SoundWave should make for some interesting changes in how people use PCs in the near future.

Source: Microsoft and CNET

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