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WiSee lets you turn up the TV without any hardware or motion-sensing cameras. Photo courtesy of the University of Washington.

Much like Xbox’s Kinect, today’s gesture recognition technology often requires either an expensive camera or bulky hardware.

But what if you could turn off the lights or turn up the TV volume at home with just your hands and a little Wi-Fi magic?

That’s what University of Washington researchers are developing with a new Wi-Fi system called WiSee. By simply using wireless signals via an adapted gesture-recognition-enabled router and your electronic devices, the system can detect movement and control things like home temperature or lighting.

This proof-of-concept video will give you a better idea:

Since the signals travel through walls, WiSee can detect movement anywhere in your apartment or home. That means you could turn up the music volume in the living room from your kitchen, or increase your home temperature while laying in bed. WiSee has the ability to detect nine different gestures, each which can be associated with different tasks.

To prevent the system from accidentally going off, WiSee requires a “startup gesture” before the real gesture  — kind of like a password gesture that then engages specific individuals with WiSee. The system can also recognize different people thanks to multiple antennas on the router.

The technology requires no modifications to today’s wireless standards and can be implemented in wireless devices. Researchers Qifan Pu, Sidhant Gupta, Shyam Gollakota, and Shwetak Patel just published a paper on WiSee and submitted it to The 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking.

Previously on GeekWire: Xbox One: Watch the new Kinect detect a heart rate from across the room 

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