WiSee: Controlling your home using WiFi and gestures

Researchers from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington have developed new gesture recognition technology which can use existing wireless signals, like WiFi, to detect gestures.

The new WiSee technology (aka Whole-Home Gesture Recognition Using Wireless), is described as a “novel interaction interface that leverages ongoing wireless transmissions in the environment (like WiFi) to enable whole-home sensing and recognition of human gestures”.

“Since wireless signals do not require line-of-sight and can traverse through walls, WiSee can enable whole-home gesture recognition using a few wireless sources like a Wi-Fi router and a few mobile devices in the living room,” the university researchers explained.

Unlike other gesture recognition systems, such as Kinect, Leap Motion, or MYO, WiSee requires neither an infrastructure of cameras nor user instrumentation devices.

“We implement a proof-of-concept prototype of WiSee and evaluate it in both an office environment and a two-bedroom apartment. Our results show that WiSee can identify and classify a set of nine gestures with an average accuracy of 94%,” the researchers said.

According to the researchers, no change in current wireless standards are needed to implement the gesture recognition technology.

“It could also be implemented in today’s wireless devices. Imagine that in the near future you would buy wireless router which could also do gesture recognition,” they said.

Removing interference from other people in the house

WiSee takes advantage of the technology trend of MIMO – the fact that wireless devices today carry multiple antennas.

“A WiSee-enabled receiver would use these multiple antennas in a different way to focus only on the user in control, thus eliminating interference from other people,” they said.

Accidental triggers are eliminated through a “startup sequence” of gestures to get into the control system before sending the real gesture commands.

“The startup sequence could be relatively long so false positives become rare cases. Such a startup sequence can also serve as your personal password, in this way the system is protected against adversaries.”

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WiSee: Controlling your home using WiFi and gestures