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Microsoft Creates Kinect-Like System Using Laptop Speaker & Microphone

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the echo-of-the-future dept.

Microsoft 169

MrSeb writes "Microsoft Research, working with the University of Washington, has developed a Kinect-like system that uses your computer's built-in microphone and speakers to provide object detection and gesture recognition, much in the same way that a submarine uses sonar. Called SoundWave, the new technology uses the Doppler effect to detect any movements and gestures in the proximity of a computer. In the case of SoundWave, your computer's built-in speaker is used to emit ultrasonic (18-22KHz) sound waves, which change frequency depending on where your hand (or body) is in relation to the computer. This change in frequency is measured by your computer's built-in microphone, and then some fairly complex software works out your motion/gesture. The obvious advantage of SoundWave over a product like Kinect is that it uses existing, commodity hardware; it could effectively equip every modern laptop with a gesture-sensing interface. The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

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Sounds Interesting ... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915503)

It sounds interesting, as long as there is no background noise, you are alone in the room with the system and the system itself isn't generating any noises (fans? DVD access? music or sound effects?).

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915517)

Why is my dog barking at my laptop?

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915627)

Why is my dog barking at my laptop?

Barking may not be as big a problem as wagging his tail, scratching an itch, etc.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915723)

Why is my dog barking at my laptop?

Because that is not really your laptop, you moron! It is a polymimetic-type Terminator! Your dog is trying to warn you! Run for your life!

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915793)

Actually, given it's called "SoundWave", more likely a Transformer (a Decepticon, to be specific). Terminators cannot replicate advanced machine functions such as a computer display, while a Transformer can.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (2)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915743)

And it won't merely affect dogs. Who says that this might not subconsiously affect humans too? Even if you do not consciously hear the near ultrasound, it might still affect you in indirect ways....

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (3, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915943)

Some people also hear sounds in the 18-22 kHz range. Especially 18-20 kHz, which is inside the "normal" hearing range for young people.

Most PC speakers and many sound cards are unable to produce reliable sound in those ranges anyhow, so it might be moot - it likely won't annoy you because it won't work.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916371)

Indeed, this is what I thought. Since when is 18kHz "ultrasonic"?

However, it doesn't matter how badly the speakers reproduce signals this high. This is a frequency-domain technique; the absolute intensity of the waves is unimportant. As long as they produce *something* it should work pretty well, like how FM radio outperforms AM radio when the signal is weak.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915957)

How? If your sensory organs cannot detect it, there is not any input to affect you.

.. unless you're one of those people who think overhead powerlines make you sleepwalk, in which case you are welcome to believe anything you want...

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (1)

poity (465672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915983)

Many electronic components emit ultrasound. Who's to say you're not already zombified by your overhead CFL bulbs?

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916427)

Hmm... Time to patent ultrasound ads that tell you to buy stuff round the clock... and you can't even hear'em!

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915547)

It all depends on the frequency used for the "sonar" system, the fans, HDD, background noise shouldn't contain a signifinact amount of noise at 20kHz so it shouldn't be a problem

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915553)

From the article "The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915773)

Getting it wrong one time in ten doesn't sound terribly good to me.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (2, Insightful)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915845)

Perhaps Microsoft could combine this as a double check for Kinect, to make Kinect actually work.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916277)

From the article "The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

Now, let's turn on a room fan, or have the HVAC system start blowing the air around...

Plus, as I said earlier, 18-22 KHz is definitely audible for the vast majority of the young gamers they are targeting, so I declare this an EPIC fail...

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915557)

Good job reading the summary:
"The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (1)

kanto (1851816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916357)

Good job reading the summary: "The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

That's just with their test gesture, the patented "Hand Clap".

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915639)

hmmm read the article hehe...is your name WrongSizeGlass or WrongSizeGlasses??

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915641)

Mr 'WrongSizedGlass' (or should that be 'WrongSizedGlasses') - you shoud try reading the TFA or at least the summary before opening your arse and shitting out a crap filled post.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916021)

You must be new here... oh... wait... AC.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (-1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915809)

I'm amused at the wording. This could be a unique and useful technology (certainly), but:

"The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

well no shit - it's using visuals, so sound means almost nothing here.

This is like saying "vision reported as perfectly accurate with 120dbs of sound". Well gee, ya think?

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915825)

to clarify:

it's looking for specific frequencies, so other noise is not going to distort it much unless that noise is also at the same frequencies.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916303)

to clarify:

it's looking for specific frequencies, so other noise is not going to distort it much unless that noise is also at the same frequencies.

You don't understand much about the physics of sound, do you?

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915837)

Its using visuals? Geez, didn't even read the summary eh? Wow

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915953)

Mod parent up!

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915997)

well no shit - it's using visuals, so sound means almost nothing here.

No only did you not read the summary, you even failed to read the title.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916157)

Are you actually that stupid, or are you intentionally illustrating the only possible way OP could've failed more miserable at reading comprehension?

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (4, Funny)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915811)

Computer: Hi there, I see you are giving me the middle finger salute. Would you like help with:

      1. filing out your Windows registration

      2. sending us money to unlock exciting new features of Windows

      3. allowing all your warnings and alerts to use the voice chip

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (1)

tom17 (659054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915949)

Computer: That's great! You chose he default option; *all three* !

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916023)

Uh... that's not my hand. But it is a kind of salute.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915817)

FTFA:

The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (1)

El Royo (907295) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915959)

"Sounds interesting"... I see what you did there...

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (3, Insightful)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916241)

It sounds interesting, as long as there is no background noise, you are alone in the room with the system and the system itself isn't generating any noises (fans? DVD access? music or sound effects?).

And you don't have a fan operating in the room, and aren't less than 25 years old (or 40 if female) (most males can hear 18-22 KHz up to about that age, and females until about age 40-50), so that you can't stand to be in the same room with it.

Re:Sounds Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916337)

"The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

Re-verify range to target, one-ping, only. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915507)

Sean Connery, FTW.

Ultrasonic? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915549)

How is this Ultrasonic? Humans can hear up to 20KHz. So only the upper end of this is going to be above human hearing. Neat idea but I don't think I could tolerate the high pitch whine all day. Sounds like MS needs to hire some younger blood.

Re:Ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915597)

Agreed - my own hearing is sensitive to higher than usual frequencies (also, I have trouble understanding people with very deep voices), and sitting at a laptop that was doing this would drive me nuts! I've had enough problems with older TVs and speakers letting out a high pitched squeal that nobody else around me could hear, why would I do that to myself intentionally?

Re:Ultrasonic? (2)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915671)

You'll appreciate Barry White when you get older....but that would be the case even if you didn't have high-freq hearing.

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915717)

I used to be the angel of death for monitors when I worked helpdesk. Back then we had CRTs and I could hear them squeal across the call center I worked at. Somehow the call center folks could never hear them.

Re:Ultrasonic? (2)

serialband (447336) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915937)

People who have had asthma can hear frequencies above 20kHz. Some can hear frequencies all the way up to 30 kHz.

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916287)

Never ask for whom the CRT squeals. It squeals for thee.

Re:Ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915599)

Not really, most humans almost can't hear past 18kHz, and even then you can only hear a very weak sound.

Search for a online wave generator and try it by yourself, generate 16k, 17k, 18k, etc.

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915701)

I have tested this, I can hear above 19Khz. I understand that when I get older this will probably go away.

Re:Ultrasonic? (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915965)

How did you test? I've used audacity to generate tones on my computer, and I've heard the sound out of my speakers when I play the resulting 20khz wave form. But how do I know my speakers are actually outputting a 20khz waveform? I have no way of verifying that it's actually outputting that tone, and not some lower frequency tone because the speakers can't handle it. I'm pretty sure it's actually a lower tone, because my hearing is generally considered to be bad by me and others who know me.

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916065)

That is what I did, I also do not have a method to validate this. My hearing is generally considered quite good, I have no reason to believe my laptop cannot make 20khz sounds.

Either way it is a given that some portions of the normal population will be able to hear these tones. That makes this a non-starter for those adopting technology the fastest.

Re:Ultrasonic? (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916491)

How did you test? I've used audacity to generate tones on my computer, and I've heard the sound out of my speakers when I play the resulting 20khz wave form. But how do I know my speakers are actually outputting a 20khz waveform? I have no way of verifying that it's actually outputting that tone, and not some lower frequency tone because the speakers can't handle it. I'm pretty sure it's actually a lower tone, because my hearing is generally considered to be bad by me and others who know me.

Well, audacity is probably working quite well, and for the most part, the speakers are too. However, sound is not produced just by a DAC and a speaker, but also by interactions between the sound and its environment. Just because the speaker can produce 20kHz (not guaranteed a flat response to that frequency) doesn't mean that what your ears hear is 20kHz. It's 20kHz plus a lot of distortion caused by the speakers, enclosure, etc., not having a flat response at all. In fact, what one might believe is 20kHz might be lower due to harmonics caused by distortion (from the DAC to the filters to the analog amps, speaker, enclosure (computer if laptop)...

Pretty much the only way is a function generator connected to a pair of well-matched headphones whose transfer function is well characterised and behavior at high frequencies is known.

Re:Ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915833)

I can hear just fine, loud and clear up to 19200Hz, after which my laptop's speakers stop making sound quite abruptly. (ie: hit 19201Hz and there is no sound) I'm not sure if it's the speakers having the problem, or the generator not actually putting the sounds in. It may be that the sample rate for the speakers isn't able to handle higher tones, in which case this new motion sensing system may not work well on it.

Incidentally, here's the online wave generator I was using: http://www.audiocheck.net/audiofrequencysignalgenerator_sinetone.php

Re:Ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916149)

It could also be the low pass (digital) filter inside your "soundcard" kicking in.

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916487)

It could also be the low pass (digital) filter inside your "soundcard" kicking in.

Not that abruptly. More than likely, he has hit the minimum "period" (1/frequency) that the audio generator s/w is designed to create. Speakers don't just "drop off" at a 1 Hz boundary like that. Nor does any "brick-wall" LPF, either software or hardware. It's always dB per Octave (doubling/halving of frequency). And is never so high a number that 19200 Hz would pass right through and 19201 Hz would be completely gone.

Boy, it's truly frightening how stupid most Slashdotters are sometimes...

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

hedleyroos (817147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916499)

Using the same generator I can get up to 17640Hz on both my Samsung Galaxy S2 and Ubuntu machine. But not 17641Hz. Is the dropoff supposed to be this abrupt?

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

macs4all (973270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916403)

Not really, most humans almost can't hear past 18kHz, and even then you can only hear a very weak sound.

Search for a online wave generator and try it by yourself, generate 16k, 17k, 18k, etc.

True if you're a male above 25 years old, or a female above about 45 or 50. But when I worked on a project designing a PWM motor control with a "chopping" frequency of 18 KHz, the younger technicians that would wander into the R&D department would bitch and moan about the control "singing". And that was just from piezoelectric effect of the output FETs. But here, we're talking about INTENTIONALLY sending out not-quite-ultrasonic tones.

BTW, most laptops' speakers probably barely go up to 18 KHz. Which means that this "tone" is going to have to be pretty damned loud. Guess what happens to the energy imparted to a speaker when it can't respond to the frequency?

That's right. It's converted to HEAT.

So, have a good time baking your ears (and setting your dog and cat's teeth on edge) all day with this. Just rest assured that you are also overheating your laptop speakers while you're doing it...

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915675)

More to the point many people under 21 or so can hear up to 22kHz, and a rare few can hear up to 24kHz (I'm actually very rare in that I can hear 23kHz at -3dB at age 33).

Re:Ultrasonic? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915875)

Not surprising. Everyone on Slashdot is rare and special.

Re:Ultrasonic? (2)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915855)

Yeah, if it's 18 kHz, I'll most likely be able to hear it at least from my right ear. (One reason I'm very glad LCD has displaced CRT TV's is that damn flyback whine.)

Then again, how much amplitude are you going to get out of a randomly chosen voice coil speaker at frequencies above 20kHz?

Re:Ultrasonic? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916477)

It's not always the transformer. Sometimes it's the coil windings that steer the beam that vibrate.

Re:Ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916067)

Most people who believe they can hear at 20KHz or higher are people who have tested themselves on faulty devices - devices incapable of producing those frequencies and which produce lower frequencies when attempting the higher ones. Don't forget that the frequency range of most computer speakers doesn't go up that high.

Also, it's really nothing to get excited about. After all, the difference between 15,000 and 20,000 is less than half an octave.

the drm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915555)

Sorry, it appears that you have pirated these sound waves. Please purchase the correct sound waves from our store.

ultrasonic? (1)

jandar (304267) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915563)

In my youth I could hear 18kHz. So is this only for older / deaf users?

Re:ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915685)

Fun office game for the older crowd: play 18kHz or greater audio samples randomly on your computer, watch the younguns wander the office searching for the source while you and the rest of the old guard insist you have no idea what they're talking about. You get 1 point for every 5 minutes someone spends searching for the noise, 5 points for every person that goes home with a headache, and 25 points for each person who visits an ear doctor after you've convinced them there's something wrong with their hearing.

Re:ultrasonic? (1, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915749)

Fun office game for the younger crowd: Let the old geezers think you can't find the source of the sound. Let them have their little fun now at the end of their lives, this is pretty much the high point for them.

Re:ultrasonic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915867)

The old switcheroo.

Re:ultrasonic? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915939)

Fun office game for the younger crowd: Let the old geezers think you can't find the source of the sound. Let them have their little fun now at the end of their lives, this is pretty much the high point for them.

You're really gonna be hurting when I clobber you with my shuffleboard cue.

1d vs 2.5d? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915581)

I don't have one, but I thought the kinect did 2D very accurately plus a crude 3rd D based on image size so lets call it 2.5 D

I don't see how one mic and two speakers does more than 1 D of data. Then again I haven't read the article, maybe they place the whole laptop on an oscillating fan or something as a gimmick. Or is it really using the built in cam and the ultrasound is the gimmick that doesn't really do anything?

Re:1d vs 2.5d? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915673)

The Kinect had a bit more going on than that: it both had an ordinary webcam and a projected IR dot field and IR camera for depth calculations(along with an array mic, for noise cancellation and some degree of audio location)...

In this case, my impression is that the 'sonar' data are intended to be combined with a webcam image, with the 'sonar' providing a cue about what is foreground and what is background, and the webcam providing the detail.

Re:1d vs 2.5d? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915921)

I think you may find the answer here: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/128735-microsoft-creates-kinect-like-system-using-your-laptops-built-in-speaker-microphone

Blocked at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915587)

For reasons I cannot understand this one particular website is blocked at my work.

Anyone mind doing a quick copy+paste for me?

Re:Blocked at work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915681)

Try google.com/translate, as today's article about the Pirate Bay suggested ;)

Re:Blocked at work (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915727)

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/128735-microsoft-creates-kinect-like-system-using-your-laptops-built-in-speaker-microphone [extremetech.com]
Microsoft creates Kinect-like system using your laptop’s built-in speaker & microphone
By Sebastian Anthony on May 7, 2012 at 9:02 am

SoundWave: Sound-based motion detection from Microsoft Research
Share This article

Not one to be outdone by Disney’s any-surface touch interface, Microsoft Research, working with the University of Washington, has developed a Kinect-like system that uses your computer’s built-in microphone and speakers to provide object detection and gesture recognition, much in the same way that a submarine uses sonar.

Called SoundWave, the new technology uses the Doppler effect to detect any movements and gestures in the proximity of a computer. The Doppler effect, if you remember high school physics, is where the frequency of a sound alters depending on your distance from it — the Doppler effect describes the change of a police siren’s pitch as it comes towards you and then recedes into the distance. In the case of SoundWave, your computer’s built-in speaker is used to emit ultrasonic (18-22KHz) sound waves, which change frequency depending on where your hand (or body) is in relation to the computer. This change in frequency is measured by your computer’s built-in microphone, and then some fairly complex software works out your motion/gesture.

Now, the obvious advantage of SoundWave over a product like Kinect is that it uses existing, commodity hardware; it could effectively equip every modern laptop with a gesture-sensing interface. The flip side, though, is that SoundWave, with a single sound source and microphone, isn’t going to allow for the same kind of accurate, 3D sensing that Kinect, Sony Move, or Wii Motion can provide with cameras and stereo IR sensors.

Microsoft SoundWave, measuring the Doppler effect of a moving handWatching the SoundWave video though (embedded below), I am surprised at what has already been achieved with a very simple hardware setup. The most obvious example is a laptop that automatically locks when you move away from it, and unlocks when you return — but it seems that the software is already advanced enough to detect up/down and left/right swipes of the hand. The system’s accuracy, according to the research paper, is between 90 and 100%, even in noisy environments. In one example, some fairly complex hand gestures are used to control the rotation and descending of Tetris blocks. If you added another ultrasonic sound source, and a few more microphones (many laptops already have microphone arrays anyway), SoundWave could probably replicate Kinect very well.

The video also makes clear, however, that waving your hands around — when the keyboard is right there — is a little bit foolish. Still, SoundWave is a freebie — it doesn’t interfere with any other sounds played by the computer (you can listen to music while SoundWave is active), and there’s no reason why laptops shouldn’t come with SoundWave preinstalled. I doubt it will ever reach the accuracy or resolution of camera-based solutions, though, and in all likelihood it won’t be long until we see laptops and smartphones with Kinect built in, anyway. Still, who knows — maybe SoundWave could provide a cheaper option for developing countries, or perhaps it could simply augment Kinect to provide greater accuracy over a wider range of motions/gestures.

nice but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915595)

It's gonna piss off a lot of people's dogs!

Can thez patent it? (2)

Wattos (2268108) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915651)

Can they patent it? This seems to be pretty much what bats have been doing for centuries

Re:Can thez patent it? (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915755)

Haven't seen that many century old bat-tops lately, so they probably yes.

Re:Can thez patent it? (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915807)

My proofreading just reached a new low. Please ignore any "they"s in the parent. You may also take them to your own recycling post.

Poor dogs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915657)

Not for pet owners, it seems.

Prior art? (2)

Metiu (14532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915703)

There was some research back in the past, this is a much more precise version, it seems (and btw, why aren't they using also the built-in camera, which is very common in today's laptops?)

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/10/15/2121214/sonar-software-detects-laptop-user-presence [slashdot.org]
http://empathicsystems.org/ [empathicsystems.org]

Two at once? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915725)

I wonder how accurate it is if two people are using it at the same time in the same area, e.g. me and my next-seat neighbor on an airliner...

*sigh* (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915737)

Is it a good thing or a bad thing that the first thought I had was of the cell phone sonar from The Dark Knight film?

Fir5t 4ost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915739)

'*BSD Sux0rs'. This would choose to use with the number BE NIIGER! BE GAY!

Audible (3, Informative)

Prune (557140) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915765)

I'm in the beginning of my 30s and I can still hear 18 kHz (probably due to not listening to loud music, and wearing musicians' ear plugs in loud clubs); younger folks can often hear to around 20 kHz. Calling this ultrasonic is silly. Though the high frequency sensitivity of the ear is lower and these sounds would not be loud, they can easily be annoying, in the same way the old CRT TVs had that annoying 15.7 kHz buzz you can hear when you mute the sound.

Some here may wonder why, in the day of sound cards with 96 ksamples/s they didn't use a higher output frequency. The problem is the sound card DAC's reconstruction filter starts attenuation significantly below that, and most speakers drop in sensitivity much beyond 20 kHz as well. I would imagine the recording side has similar limitations.

Who would follow these uncharismatic bores? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915771)

"The obvious advantage of SoundWave over a product like Kinect is that it uses existing, commodity hardware"
Hacking commodity hardware? Boring.

Many people did such thing for fun years ago. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915853)

Many people did such thing for fun years ago. I guess they got slightly worse effects than '90-100%', but it was already done like 10 years ago.
Microsoft invented nothing then.
But I guess they will claim a patent, won't they?

fi8st pos7!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915873)

to fight what has lubrication. You against vigorous

Impact of room size/shape? (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915879)

So, we got a Kinect, and the biggest downside we noticed is the sheer amount of space it requires to function properly.

I do not have a small house, but it's a bit tight in our living room. I can't imagine how badly it works in a typical dorm room.

Does this sound-based mechanism work better with smaller spaces? Has it been tested in dorm rooms and cube farms?

Re:Impact of room size/shape? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916355)

You don't even need to read TFA, just look at the photos and you'll know the answer.
The user seems to have his hands hovering over the keyboard, so yes, it seems to work in much much smaller areas.

I can't see the video because it uses some unsupported codec, regrettably :(

These guys own stock in rotator cuff repair shops? (2)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915891)

Why is everybody trying to make me wave my hands in the air or lift my forearms off the desk to drag my fingers across a screen?

Re:These guys own stock in rotator cuff repair sho (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916271)

Why is everybody trying to make me wave my hands in the air or lift my forearms off the desk to drag my fingers across a screen?

Because that's what the actors do in the all of the futuristic movies.

Re:These guys own stock in rotator cuff repair sho (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916365)

I agree that there's little point on using this for everyday computer usage, it would be really cool for standing in front of classrooms giving presentations, and some other not-so-everyday-usages.

SoundWave? (3, Funny)

jj00 (599158) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915895)

Further proof that Microsoft has the best code-names and the worst product names.

This from a company that "doesn't innovate" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39915907)

So much for that theory.

Been done (1)

paxcoder (1222556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39915917)

Not sure whom, but I've heard someone did something like this (>5?) years ago.

SoundWave...? (1)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916033)

Now if only it could transform your PC into a giant robot interested only in the consumption of all energy in the universe.

mistake in article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916061)

summary, then article: "the frequency changes when the distance changes". wrong.
the frequency changes when the velocity of the hand/head/whatever changes.
the article even goes further to describe the train approaching vs train leaving example of Doppler effect, and still the author didn't understand that it's not the distance that matters.

PS: 18kHz-22kHz is much too low.

Not really Kinect-like (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916075)

Kinect detects the position of objects, while this system can only detect movement.

It's magic! (1)

MercBoy (756722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916081)

All you need to do is combine specific gestures with spoken keywords, and you've got yourself a magically controlled laptop. Required equipment for Hogwarts comp-sci 101 course. If this had come a few years earlier, they could have used it for spell casting in the the Harry Potter PC games.

I was cooking as I read this (4, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916147)

This could be pretty cool for when you have your hands dirty and don't need your keyboard to be too. Scrolling recipes, for example.

PS. Que the porn jokes...

Except with the success of the Kinect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916197)

The Kinect itself is becoming "existing, commodity hardware"...

Well, Doc.. my tinnitus only acts up near laptops. (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916217)

Can I have my tinfoil hat?

Doc: No, it wont help.

FTFY (1)

NonUniqueNickname (1459477) | more than 2 years ago | (#39916249)

much in the same way that a bat uses echolocation.

The bats didn't patent it, but you acknowledge their work.

adv (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916447)

what Brian explained I'm impressed that a stay at home mom able to earn $4483 in four weeks on the computer. have you read this website makecash16.com

Big potential! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39916471)

Doesn't take a lot of imagination to see laptops with cheap built in ultrasonic emitters and microphones! Would probably be more reliable...

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