Microsoft to turn your flat into a control pad

Interact with your wiring


Microsoft is developing technology that turns wall surfaces in every room of a house into control panels for videogames and appliances.

Unlike Xbox 360 accessory Kinect, which tracks movement through a built-in camera, Microsoft's latest tech tunes into electromagnetic fields leaking out of home wiring.

Presented this week at Vancouver's Conference on Human Factors in Computing, the system uses a sensor device, worn on the neck or wrist, to monitor around a thousand different frequencies and how they change as the wearer's body moves within the EM field.

The upshot: the system can look for and detect various gestures - hands down by the wearer's sides, touch the wall and so forth - and see where in the house they were made.

Microsoft makes walls into control panels

The data could then the be transmitted wirelessly to a control hub, interpreted and used to trigger events, from switching lights on and off, to operating the central heating, the TV and so forth.

Head researcher Desney Tan says the tech may be offered open source to amateur engineers, just as Kinect was (eventually), to broaden application and give everyone the chance to make products that use this touch-controlled surface technology.

I guess those walls needed repainting anyway...

You can read the full paper here (PDF) ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • DuckDuckGo tries to explain why its browsers won't block some Microsoft web trackers
    Meanwhile, Tails 5.0 users told to stop what they're doing over Firefox flaw

    DuckDuckGo promises privacy to users of its Android, iOS browsers, and macOS browsers – yet it allows certain data to flow from third-party websites to Microsoft-owned services.

    Security researcher Zach Edwards recently conducted an audit of DuckDuckGo's mobile browsers and found that, contrary to expectations, they do not block Meta's Workplace domain, for example, from sending information to Microsoft's Bing and LinkedIn domains.

    Specifically, DuckDuckGo's software didn't stop Microsoft's trackers on the Workplace page from blabbing information about the user to Bing and LinkedIn for tailored advertising purposes. Other trackers, such as Google's, are blocked.

    Continue reading
  • Despite 'key' partnership with AWS, Meta taps up Microsoft Azure for AI work
    Someone got Zuck'd

    Meta’s AI business unit set up shop in Microsoft Azure this week and announced a strategic partnership it says will advance PyTorch development on the public cloud.

    The deal [PDF] will see Mark Zuckerberg’s umbrella company deploy machine-learning workloads on thousands of Nvidia GPUs running in Azure. While a win for Microsoft, the partnership calls in to question just how strong Meta’s commitment to Amazon Web Services (AWS) really is.

    Back in those long-gone days of December, Meta named AWS as its “key long-term strategic cloud provider." As part of that, Meta promised that if it bought any companies that used AWS, it would continue to support their use of Amazon's cloud, rather than force them off into its own private datacenters. The pact also included a vow to expand Meta’s consumption of Amazon’s cloud-based compute, storage, database, and security services.

    Continue reading
  • Atos pushes out HPC cloud services based on Nimbix tech
    Moore's Law got you down? Throw everything at the problem! Quantum, AI, cloud...

    IT services biz Atos has introduced a suite of cloud-based high-performance computing (HPC) services, based around technology gained from its purchase of cloud provider Nimbix last year.

    The Nimbix Supercomputing Suite is described by Atos as a set of flexible and secure HPC solutions available as a service. It includes access to HPC, AI, and quantum computing resources, according to the services company.

    In addition to the existing Nimbix HPC products, the updated portfolio includes a new federated supercomputing-as-a-service platform and a dedicated bare-metal service based on Atos BullSequana supercomputer hardware.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022