Imagine sitting on your couch at home and, with the wave of an arm, turning up the volume on your stereo, or flipping the channel on a television set across the room. A few more hand waves could shut off the lights in distant rooms, or cause a fireplace to blaze to life.
This is the promise of WiSee, a sensing system designed by a team at the University of Washington that uses WiFi signals to read gestures throughout the home—it can even “see” through walls.
Unlike Microsoft’s Kinect, for example, WiSee doesn’t need a sensor. It can be used with any WiFi-connected device, such as an iPhone or a laptop, and a WiSee-enabled router to pick up movements. After testing nine different gestures in an office and a two-bedroom apartment, the team found it was accurate 94 per cent of the time.
Of course, flailing an arm to change the music risks making the user look a little ridiculous—but that’s a risk early adopters must be willing to take. Just look at the people wearing Google Glass.