High-Fidelity input from everyday objects

High-Fidelity input from everyday objects

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Couches, tables, sleeves and more can turn into a high-fidelity input device for computers using a new sensing system developed at the University of Michigan

The system repurposes technology from new bone-conduction microphones, known as Voice Pickup Units (VPUs), which detect only those acoustic waves that travel along the surface of objects. It works in noisy environments, along odd geometries such as toys and arms, and on soft fabrics such as clothing and furniture.

Called SAWSense, for the surface acoustic waves it relies on, the system recognizes different inputs, such as taps, scratches and swipes, with 97% accuracy. In one demonstration, the team used a normal table to replace a laptop’s trackpad.

“This technology will enable you to treat, for example, the whole surface of your body like an interactive surface,” said Yasha Iravantchi, U-M doctoral candidate in computer science and engineering. “If you put the device on your wrist, you can do gestures on your own skin. We have preliminary findings that demonstrate this is entirely feasible.”

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