Gestures Create A New Type Of Universal Remote Control
WiSee uses an existing wi-fi connection to enable people to control electronic devices like TVs or stereos with gestures...and they don't even have to be in the same room.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
Couch potatoes rejoice: Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a prototypical system, WiSee, that works with an existing wi-fi connection to allow a person in the kitchen, for example, to change the channel on their living room TV with just a gesture. A receiver "sees" gestures by intercepting changes in the signals moving through and away from human bodies, and interprets them as commands that can be sent to electronic devices in the home. The team's work on WiSee has been submitted for inclusion in the upcoming ACM International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking (Mobicom).
What's the Big Idea?
Unlike systems like Kinect, which require cameras in order to see and interpret gestures, WiSee doesn't require the person to be in the same room as the receiver or the device being affected. It also uses multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology to recognize gestures from different people, which could pose a problem, says team member Sidhant Gupta: "Someone walking by your house should not be able to turn your kettle on by waving his arms." Making WiSee more secure is one of the improvements the team plans to include in the future.
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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