Sensing Gestures Using the Body as an Antenna

Skip to first unread message

Apr 10, 2012, 1:02:12 PM4/10/12
----- Original Message -----
From: Cindy Sage, Sage Associates
To: Iris Atzmon
Sent: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: On the subject



Did you know that Microsoft and University of Washington researchers are working hard to turn the human body into a mobile-something they can ‘leverage’ (in their own terms) to sell you new tech products?


Microsoft’s Cohn and his co-authors just published a paper titled ‘Your Noise is My Command:  Sensing Gestures Using the Body as an Antenna’.   I could not make this up.


Relying on known scientific principles, the human body makes a fine walking radio antenna.  In fact, so good that that researchers are trying to make a buck on it. 


This is unfortunate if you are the substrate (i.e., the human) but dandy if you are trying to make money turning a human into a walking computer and mouse.  Or, an upright human transister radio. Microsoft knows that antenna-man is already walking around soaking up stray electromagnetic waves that could be put to productive use gesturing at point-and-zap gadgets on the wall.


But, being a human antenna comes with drawbacks.  It is lethal to humans.  It requires charging up humans with radiofrequency radiation to enable mechanical devices they don’t need, by playing on the salty body-fluids, brain matter and long nerves of the human. 


It’s a hell of a marketing idea, promoting nothing if not big bucks for tech makers who need a new idea to keep shareholder dividends afloat.


If God had intended humans to be walking antennas, maybe she should have given them longer arms or bigger ears or longer nose-hairs and whiskers.  Microsoft wants to remedy this design flaw and can make money doing it.


Radiowaves interact with the human body and couple to the body itself. Not in a sexual way, mind you. But, well, vibrate. Produce more heating and biological reaction. Sounds sexual. Maybe Microsoft can play on that theme in its advertising.  


Isn’t it harmful to living tissue to be jarred out of it’s normal biological state?  Cells of the body say so by producing stress hormones and heat shock proteins.  In any biological lab, researchers would be screeching in pain at the thought of the potential allergic, inflammatory and cancer-causing effects of this crass robo-engineering scam. Well, maybe not in Frankenstein’s lab.


Microsoft knows a brilliant marketing concept when it sees one – this will make lazy people everywhere sit up and take notice. Imagine. Your electro-enhanced gestures might one day save you the effort of getting up to turn off the lights, the thermostat up or down, or answer the doorbell!


Just mind the sizzle-burns on the couch.


The smart meter folks and the Microsoft folks will have a love-fest when they find each other.  To Microsoft’s guys, smart meters are a free ride since they load up humans with excess electromagnetic noise….human vessels full of unused juice to run Microsoft devices.  This pesky problem of humans picking up random electromagnetic noise can be CHANNELED by marvelous Microsoft labor-saving devices for the 21st century couch potato. 


You’ll know it when you see vertical integration – that is – Microsoft buying up electric utilities.


Watch for the green advertising. 


Microsoft –we save the planet - one-walking-human-antenna at a time - recycling your unused and unwanted electromagnetic juice and directing it at light switches everywhere.  In techno terms, they say to “leverage the ambient electromagnetic noise picked up by the human body as a signal” and “turn almost any wall surface or electrical device in the home into an interactive input system” to receive gestures from humans.


I have a gesture for this idea.  It does involve my hand – but it sure doesn’t take channeling electro-bolts of radiofrequency to send this message.


Cohn, G., Morris, D., Patel, S.N., Tan, D.S. Your Noise is My Command: Sensing Gestures Using the Body as an Antenna. In the Proceedings of CHI 2011 (May 7-12, Vancouver, Canada), ACM, New York, 2011, pp. 791-800.

[ ]




Microsoft the body as antenna.doc
Cohn et al Microsoft paper.pdf
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages