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Microsoft Looks at New Motion-Sensing Technology

Microsoft researchers develop a sensor that reads electromagnetic fields as motion.

The Kinect is a revolutionary motion-sensing technology, but it's only good so long as you're actually standing in front of its depth-sensing cameras. But Microsoft is looking into bringing motion sensing to every surface in your home, but instead of using optics to see us, it's sensors that detect our electrical fields.

Microsoft showed off their new tech, at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing, which can detect the electromagnetic field produced by a human body as wells as the ones produced by electrical appliances and power cables. The sensor, which can be worn on the neck or wrist, is connected to a computer that can record and recognize field changes keyed into particular poses.

The researchers showed that the software picked up on a particular electrical signature when the user placed his hand on the wall. They hope the technology makes it into homes where they can turn on lights or adjust the thermostat by body movements.

Gabe Cohn, a PhD student at the University of Washington and member of the research team, mentioned that the system could be used control any electronic device including a gaming console for a "whole-room gaming experience."

Desney Tan, the head Microsoft researcher of the project said that the technology has not been patented, yet. Microsoft however is considering an open-source basis for the public to build similar systems with the technology.

[Microsoft Research via New Scientist]

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