SoundWave: Using the Doppler Effect to Sense Gestures

Established: November 28, 2016

Gesture is becoming an increasingly popular means of interacting with computers. However, it is still relatively costly to deploy robust gesture recognition sensors in existing mobile platforms. We present SoundWave, a technique that leverages the speaker and microphone already embedded in most commodity devices to sense in-air gestures around the device. To do this, we generate an inaudible tone, which gets frequency-shifted when it reflects off moving objects like the hand. We measure this shift with the microphone to infer various gestures. In this note, we describe the phenomena and detection algorithm, demonstrate a variety of gestures, and present an informal evaluation on the robustness of this approach across different devices and people.