This content is not available in your region

Smartphones that recognise hand gestures just around the corner

Smartphones that recognise hand gestures just around the corner
Text size Aa Aa

In a lab at the University of Washington in the US researchers are testing a new sensor called Sideswipe, which will allow smartphones to recognise hand gestures.

The team of Chen Zao and Matthew Reynolds say the new technology works in a similar fashion to aircrafts and radar.

Matthew Reynolds explains: “If you think about a radar on an aircraft or a boat or something like that, in that case you have a transmitter that is sending energy out into the environment and it is being reflected by objects nearby.”

The object in this case, is a hand, which acts as a mirror reflecting the phone signal back towards its source. Reynolds says that reflected signal can be used as a real time map for the sensor. He says that as the signal flow changes, patterns emerge:
“And what we do is use a machine learning algorithm to match patterns of the changes due to gestures with previously recorded patterns and when we see a match we say ‘oh’ a particular gesture has been performed.”

The team has demonstrated that their sensor worked with 87 percent accuracy using multiple hand gestures. Reynolds says they are now fine-tuning the technology to bring it out of the lab and onto the market.