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System Recognizes Objects Touched By User, Enabling Context-Aware Smartwatch Apps

EM-Sense recognizes a stove.

The EM-Sense technology uses the human body as an antenna to detect electromagnetic noise as a means of identifying specific objects.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon News (PA)

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have developed EM-Sense, technology designed to enable smartwatches to automatically recognize what kind of objects users interact with and touch.

EM-Sense uses the human body as an antenna to detect the electromagnetic noise emitted by electrical and electronic devices. The technology is able to use this noise to identify what object is being touched with a high degree of accuracy. It can tell if a person is touching a laptop or a food processor, a power tool or an electric door lock, and can even distinguish between different models of cell-phone. The technology also can work with large, non-powered conductive objects such as doors and ladders.

The researchers note the technology is relatively simple, with a proof-of-concept sensor assembled using off-the-shelf components, and could easily be integrated into smartwatches.

EM-Sense could enable a smartwatch to track activity with more granularity and could enable context-aware applications such as starting timers or activating certain apps when certain appliances are touched, or even acting as an authentication token when using a laptop or other device.

The researchers presented EM-Sense Monday at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2015) in Charlotte, NC.

From Carnegie Mellon News (PA)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2015 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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