New Gesture-Recognition Tech Lets You Control Your Phone in Your Pocket

Wouldn't it be cool if you could skip to the next track without taking your phone out of your pocket—or without touching anything at all? Or if you could adjust the thermostat with the flick of a wrist? You may soon be able to thanks to new gesture-recognition technology. It doesn't even require batteries!

The new system, developed by University of Washington computer scientists, is called AllSee, and it is awesome. "This is the first gesture recognition system that can be implemented for less than a dollar and doesn't require a battery," said Shyam Gollakota, a UW professor who worked on the project. "You can leverage TV signals both as a source of power and as a source of gesture recognition."

It sounds crazy, but it's true. The relatively tiny AllSee device works as a receiver that can recognize gestures based on changes in wireless signals floating through the air. When you move your hand, it disrupts the amplitude of these wireless signals, and AllSee measures the change. You can then program pretty much any device to react to that input, and the wireless signals power the AllSee. And the coolest part is that the device doesn't need to be in view. Watch the gesture recognition at the 1:40 mark in the video below:

Of course, this technology is still in development. But the same team that built it already supplies the gesture recognition technology for Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, so it seems like there's a good chance the AllSee will make it to market. Then, we'll all look like big goofballs waving our arms around, trying to find a good song on Spotify. [UW]