New technology allows control of smartphones with gestures, without their owners touching them

American researchers are developing a new technology that allows one to control one smartphone not through a touchscreen but with gestures around the phone without the user touching it at all.

smartphone smartphone smartphone smartphone smartphone

The sensors

While some smartphones have already begun to incorporate sensors that perceive user movements through the device's camera, this feature has the disadvantage of consuming a lot of battery power, and the camera must always have a clear picture of the user's hands.

Instead, the new technology is based on new type of wireless sensors that consume little energy and allow users to "train" their phone to recognize and respond to specific obscure gestures that make it close to it.

The system

The technology, developed by the Associate Professors Matti Reynolds and Suetak Patel of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Washington University, uses wireless signal transmission to grasp the gestures, meaning that the phone does not need to "look" at the hands of the user with the help of the camera. Even if the device is in a pocket or bag, it grasps the gestures of its owner.

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"Today's 'smart' mobile phones have many sensors, from cameras to accelerometers and gyroscopes, that can detect the movement of the phone itself. We have developed a new type of sensor that uses the reflection of the wireless transmission of the phone itself in order to perceive close gestures, thus allowing users to interact with their phone even if they do not hold it, do not look at the screen or touch it., said Mattie Reynolds.

The signs

When someone is talking on the phone or using an application over the internet, the device transmits radio signals, thus communicating with the antennas of the mobile network. When the user moves his hand around the phone, his body reflects back some of these radio signals back to the device.

The new sensor uses a series of built-in microscopic antennas to "capture" these changes in the reflected signal and thus detect what gestures they correspond to. The latter are then "translated" to specific commands to the phone (eg mute or change a song). Because wireless radio signals easily penetrate a fabric or other material, the system works even if the device is somewhere buried.

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"In that way", said Sweattak Patel, "All the space around the phone is transformed into an interactive space with it, beyond the interface of a standard touchscreen". So far, experiments with ten volunteers, which made 14 different gestures, showed that the device can recognize them with an average accuracy of 87%, which can be improved further in the future.

Innovative technology called SideSwipe, which can easily be integrated into existing smartphones, will be officially launched in early October at a computer conference in Hawaii. Researchers have already acquired the relevant commercial patent for their discovery.


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Written by Dimitris

Dimitris hates on Mondays .....

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