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Hi, my name is Cord and I am 22 years old. I created this blog for a class I am taking right now called Introduction to Social Media. I am going to be blogging about interesting things I read about in technology news. This could include new gadgets, computers, discoveries, history, what ever really catches my attention that day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Kinect? Nope it's my microphone!

    How cool would it be to hands free control your computer? What first comes to mind is the Microsoft Kinect. The Kinect runs for about $150 dollars currently, and no hands free computer is worth that much extra. Fortunately for us, Microsoft researchers have discovered a clever use for the average, built-in microphones on almost everyone's laptop. Using the speakers to emit a 20kHz tone (a tone almost nobody can even hear), they have developed a program that recognizes the change in frequency from the tone. This change in frequency is caused by your hands motions which cause the emitting tone to bounce off them however they move. The frequency generated is then recognized by the average microphone installed on any laptop or monitor.

    This kind of technology is one of those subtle ideas that could become an everyday thing in everyone's life. Think about all the things they can do with this considering the hardware they use are available in any device with speakers and a microphone; tablets, desktops, smart phones, and laptops. Given this idea is still in its infancy for the way it is being used, there is still a lot more to come from this. The researchers (Sidhant Gupta, Dan Morris, Shwetak Patel, and Desney Tan) believe this technology could end up in cars and even your kitchen. Some of the cool things they have already been working on is scrolling, adjusting volume, waking a machine upon users distance from the screen (and also putting it back to sleep!), and pausing/playing videos and music. Another cool thing about this is they way they intend to implement it. According to an article done by Popular Mechanics, they do not intend to have this become a main focus, nor do they want to change the world of motion control through sound waves. They would rather it assist already current technology, such as the Kinect, and have it be available as support. It's nice that they discover such a unique use for speakers and mic's and they don't even want to exploit it for what it is worth; not yet at least. 

    Using the program they develop out of this could make using a Windows operating system that much more interesting and could help them in the fight against Mac operating systems.  Knowing Microsoft they would first only release the program through Windows OS first and then once they establish a firm foot in the door, they will release the program to the world. It would be a cool feature for any device once they have time to develop for different devices. I for one would purchase the app for my Droid, and can't wait till the day I can. 

For more information, check the Microsoft researchers project page here: [SoundWave]

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