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Input Devices Technology

Gesture Recognition Without Batteries 22

An anonymous reader sends this news from the University of Washington: "[C]omputer scientists have built a low-cost gesture recognition system that runs without batteries and lets users control their electronic devices hidden from sight with simple hand movements. The prototype, called 'AllSee,' uses existing TV signals as both a power source and the means for detecting a user's gesture command (PDF). 'This is the first gesture recognition system that can be implemented for less than a dollar and doesn't require a battery,' said Shyam Gollakota, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering. 'You can leverage TV signals both as a source of power and as a source of gesture recognition.' The researchers built a small sensor that can be placed on an electronic device such as a smartphone. The sensor uses an ultra-low-power receiver to extract and classify gesture information from wireless transmissions around us. When a person gestures with the hand, it changes the amplitude of the wireless signals in the air. The AllSee sensors then recognize unique amplitude changes created by specific gestures."

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Gesture Recognition Without Batteries

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  • Prior art (Score:5, Funny)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @02:59PM (#46376947)

    As someone who used to own a TV with rabbit ears, I claim prior art on the use of strange gestures and body positions to control devices.

    • Don't move

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In the ancient days of my youth I connected a short wire to the grid of of a simple vacuum tube and monitored the plate current on a meter. As I moved around the room the meter current fluctuated. This illustrates just how sensitive electronics are.

  • by fozzy1015 ( 264592 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @03:01PM (#46376955)

    It's a receiver that doesn't require a power source, but to say change the channel on a TV, it needs to be connected to some sort of transmitter that DOES require a power source.

  • by bbsguru ( 586178 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @03:08PM (#46376999) Homepage Journal
    OK, so the effect of body position and proximity on a received signal has been known for a long time. Interpreting it and assigning meaning isn't that big a stretch, I guess. But to combine that with this kind of low (no?) power implementation is brilliant!

    I suppose some killjoys will complain that the parts of the world most in need of low power tech are also those most lacking in the ambient signals needed to make this work. Pffft! This is simply brilliant.

  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @03:13PM (#46377027)

    so it works in a big open park in the middle of a city. it doesn't work at all in the middle of a farm, or between cities. It's sketchy on the street between two buildings. And it's intermittant in the underground parking garage.

    tvision rabbit ears always worked well. they never needed crazy adjusting, nor aluminum foil.

  • by techhead79 ( 1517299 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @03:19PM (#46377059) []

    This isn't exactly a new concept, just used in a new way.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The theremin generates the radio signal, using quite a bit of power. The point of this is that it can detect changes in the surrounding radio noise and not needing to create it itself.

  • To the Arduino! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'm throwing things down on my breadboard as I speak.

    Think about it this way, Radio waves are just electromagnetic waves like light. It's all around us. Our eyes can detect it bouncing off other things. This is just a eye that can detect the radio waves reflecting off of things. Astronomers do this all the time with radio telescopes, which I would figure these guys used a bunch of their concepts for this.
    The really major part of doing this is knocking out the noise to be able to discern the motion. That, I

  • psychic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geoskd ( 321194 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @04:09PM (#46377379)

    As these devices get closer and closer to "invisible" technology, it starts to lend some credibility to the idea that someday humans will be able to be retrofitted with various ESP-like abilities...

    Ok, break out your tinfoil hats *now*

  • You still need power to act on the recognized gestures. But to output a small set of states it does not consume power and uses ambient energy. Looks like they recognize some four or five gestures. Hand coming in, hand going out, fist. Mixing them temporally, they may be able to get some 8 different states. It can lead to always on sensors, but even to act on the recognized sensors you need an always on actively powered (not ambiently powered) system.

    It is cool, though.

    • Hope they give they make large number of these sensors and give them to Zen Buddhists. They seem to be doing some deep research on forests, trees, and making sound when there is no one to hear it.
  • by Ozoner ( 1406169 ) on Saturday March 01, 2014 @06:06PM (#46378029)

    Without batteries? Bullshit.
    A glance at the video shows it lighting a LED. Where does that power come from?

    It's a very old idea. Passive Radar was first demonstrated in 1935 []

  • So they built a theremin. Whoopdie-doo.
  • The sensor uses an ultra-low-power receiver to extract and classify gesture information from wireless transmissions around us.

    I live in a Faraday cage, you insensitive clod!


    I approve of the name AllSee... well... except that they should drop the stupid CamalCase on the 'S'.... and the two l's might be a bit redundant.


  • ...doesn't require batteries.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin