Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wi-Fi signals enable gesture recognition throughout entire home

Date:
June 4, 2013
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
Researchers have shown it's possible to leverage Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras. Using a Wi-Fi router and a few wireless devices in the living room, users could control their electronic devices from any room in the home with a simple gesture.

A hand gesture changes the TV channel using WiSee technology.
Credit: U of Washington

Forget to turn off the lights before leaving the apartment? No problem. Just raise your hand, finger-swipe the air, and your lights will power down. Want to change the song playing on your music system in the other room? Move your hand to the right and flip through the songs.

Related Articles


University of Washington computer scientists have developed gesture-recognition technology that brings this a step closer to reality. Researchers have shown it's possible to leverage Wi-Fi signals around us to detect specific movements without needing sensors on the human body or cameras.

By using an adapted Wi-Fi router and a few wireless devices in the living room, users could control their electronics and household appliances from any room in the home with a simple gesture.

"This is repurposing wireless signals that already exist in new ways," said lead researcher Shyam Gollakota, a UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering. "You can actually use wireless for gesture recognition without needing to deploy more sensors."

The UW research team that includes Shwetak Patel, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering and of electrical engineering and his lab, published their findings online this week. This technology, which they call "WiSee," has been submitted to The 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking.

The concept is similar to Xbox Kinect -- a commercial product that uses cameras to recognize gestures -- but the UW technology is simpler, cheaper and doesn't require users to be in the same room as the device they want to control. That's because Wi-Fi signals can travel through walls and aren't bound by line-of-sight or sound restrictions.

The UW researchers built a "smart" receiver device that essentially listens to all of the wireless transmissions coming from devices throughout a home, including smartphones, laptops and tablets. A standard Wi-Fi router could be adapted to function as a receiver.

When a person moves, there is a slight change in the frequency of the wireless signal. Moving a hand or foot causes the receiver to detect a pattern of changes known as the Doppler frequency shift.

These frequency changes are very small -- only several hertz -- when compared with Wi-Fi signals that have a 20 megahertz bandwidth and operate at 5 gigahertz. Researchers developed an algorithm to detect these slight shifts. The technology also accounts for gaps in wireless signals when devices aren't transmitting.

The technology can identify nine different whole-body gestures, ranging from pushing, pulling and punching to full-body bowling. The researchers tested these gestures with five users in a two-bedroom apartment and an office environment. Out of the 900 gestures performed, WiSee accurately classified 94 percent of them.

"This is the first whole-home gesture recognition system that works without either requiring instrumentation of the user with sensors or deploying cameras in every room," said Qifan Pu, a collaborator and visiting student at the UW.

The system requires one receiver with multiple antennas. Intuitively, each antenna tunes into a specific user's movements, so as many as five people can move simultaneously in the same residence without confusing the receiver.

If a person wants to use the WiSee, she would perform a specific repetition gesture sequence to get access to the receiver. This password concept would also keep the system secure and prevent a neighbor -- or hacker -- from controlling a device in your home.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=VZ7Nz942yAY

Once the wireless receiver locks onto the user, she can perform normal gestures to interact with the devices and appliances in her home. The receiver would be programmed to understand that a specific gesture corresponds to a specific device.

Collaborators Patel and Sidhant Gupta, a doctoral student in computer science and engineering, have worked with Microsoft Research on two similar technologies -- SoundWave, which uses sound, and Humantenna, which uses radiation from electrical wires -- that both sense whole-body gestures. But WiSee stands apart because it doesn't require the user to be in the same room as the receiver or the device.

In this way, a smart home could become a reality, allowing you to turn off the oven timer with a simple wave of the hand, or turn on the coffeemaker from your bed.

The researchers plan to look next at the ability to control multiple devices at once. The initial work was funded by the UW department of computer science and engineering.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. The original article was written by Michelle Ma. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Wi-Fi signals enable gesture recognition throughout entire home." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604134257.htm>.
University of Washington. (2013, June 4). Wi-Fi signals enable gesture recognition throughout entire home. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604134257.htm
University of Washington. "Wi-Fi signals enable gesture recognition throughout entire home." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130604134257.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

NASA's First 3-D Printer In Space Creates Its First Object

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) The International Space Station is now using a proof-of-concept 3D printer to test additive printing in a weightless, isolated environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins