It seems that the success of Microsoft’s Kinect has driven the company to branch out further into the gesture-related sciences given that one of its latest projects offers gesture control with just a computer’s speakers, a microphone and some inaudible sound waves. The project which has been dubbed SoundWave, utilizes the Doppler Effect which can apparently relate changes in sound frequency to movement and subsequently, detect gestures. If this reminds you of how a bat uses echolocation to view its surroundings, you wouldn’t be very far off.
In order to do that, the computer will play inaudible audio and as the waves leave the speakers, the microphone will apparently pick up the changes in the waves according to the hand gestures that are taking place. While it might be a little tedious to keep waving your hand up and down to scroll down a document the fact that it works even in its proof-of-concept demonstrations if impressive enough. The two things that really stand out from this new development are that even if the innovation utilizes audio, users on the computer can still listen to music because the higher frequency range which will be emanated does not exist on music so there will be no interference.
Secondly, as the team demonstrates, SoundWave locks up a computer when a user stands up and walks away, and that might be very useful if it does hit the consumer market. Of course there might still be a lot of time until that happens given that the technology is far from being completed. Will all that said and done, it does have its flaws at the moment but it isn’t exactly difficult to picture a laptop from the future packing this technology in it.