Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WiSee - Whole House Gesture Detection via WiFi

Gesture recognition isn't new. Today we have smart TVs that can react to your waving hands, not to mention things like Kinect, capable of detecting 3D gestures with precision. But... what if you could get rid of cameras, and have a system that can recognize your gestures no matter where you are: in the living room, in the bedroom, at the office, and even multiple people at the same? That's precisely what WiSee aims to do, and it looks like it can a revolutionary step forward in the way we interact with our devices.

Remember the iPhone 4 antenna-gate incident, where half the world was "shocked" to find out that the human body has an effect on radio signals? Well, WiSee uses the same concept, but in a much more advanced way.

With our home filled with WiFi radio waves bouncing back and forth, we also "interfere" with it with every tiny gesture we make. These researchers were able to detect the tiny variations our gestures cause on the radio signals, using but a slightly modified router. The system was able to track five people in a 2 bed apartment, with 94% correctly identified gestures in over 900.

Just imagine the possibilities...

Can you imagine that with such a system, whole house control would no longer be a "pain" requiring you to use some kind of remote control or install cameras everywhere? You could even say goodbye to motion sensors, as this system would more accurately know where someone might be and what kind of gestures they may be doing. You could switch radio stations while in the shower with a simple gesture; or turn out the lights in the living room by simply doing a gesture before going to bed (or it could automatically detect you were lying down)... the possibilities are endless!

Well... there will also be privacy issues I'm sure: what's to stop you from "tuning in" to your neighbors, and "see" what kind of gestures they are doing?... I guess this is a good time to invest in companies that make WiFi reflective wallpaper and paint! :)

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