In the realm of wearable technology, sonar has played a vital role in various applications over the years, such as mapping oceans, detecting submarines, and uncovering sunken ships. Now, researchers at Cornell University have taken this technology to new heights by developing PoseSonic, a miniature sonar-equipped wearable device that has the potential to revolutionize body-sensing technology.
Unlike its predecessors, PoseSonic is a sleek and unobtrusive wearable device in the form of eyeglasses. Fitted with micro sonar technology, it utilizes a combination of inaudible soundwaves and artificial intelligence (AI) to track the upper body movements of the wearer in 3D. This opens up a world of possibilities, including enhanced augmented reality, virtual reality, and the ability to gather detailed physical and behavioral data for personal health purposes.
The Potential of PoseSonic
One of the most exciting aspects of PoseSonic, according to Saif Mahmud, a doctoral student in information science and lead author of the study, is its potential for detecting fine-grained human activities in real-world settings. By leveraging the vast amount of data collected through body-sensing technology like PoseSonic, individuals can become more aware and mindful of their behaviors and make informed decisions accordingly.
Moreover, the integration of AI into PoseSonic’s low-power, low-cost, and privacy-conscious acoustic sensing system sets it apart from other wearable devices on the market. With minimal instrumentation on the body and improved battery performance, PoseSonic offers practicality and convenience for everyday use.
PoseSonic’s design consists of two pairs of tiny microphones and speakers, each about the size of a pencil, attached to the eyeglasses’ hinges. These speakers emit inaudible soundwaves that bounce off the upper body and are captured by the microphones, generating an echo profile image. This image is then fed into PoseSonic’s machine-learning algorithm, which accurately estimates the wearer’s body pose.
Unlike other wearable pose-tracking systems that require an initial training session with the user, PoseSonic is uniquely capable of functioning effectively right out of the box. This simplicity and ease of use make it a game-changer in the world of body-sensing technology.
PoseSonic is capable of estimating body movements at nine different joints, including the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and even the nose, providing insights into head positioning. This level of accuracy and precision is particularly valuable, especially in applications that demand real-time, detailed body pose tracking.
Compared to existing wearable devices, PoseSonic boasts several notable advantages. Firstly, it eliminates the need for a mini video camera, which can often be impractical and drain significant amounts of battery power. Additionally, video cameras on wearables raise concerns about privacy and invasive surveillance.
In contrast, PoseSonic’s acoustic sensing technology utilizes minimal power, approximately one-tenth of what a wearable camera typically requires. This not only allows for a smaller and more discreet device but also mitigates privacy risks. Unlike a wearable video camera, PoseSonic’s sonar-based approach poses no immediate privacy concerns for individuals in the wearer’s vicinity.
As the field of wearable technology continues to advance, PoseSonic emerges as a groundbreaking device that has the potential to transform how we interact with our bodies and the world around us. With its unprecedented accuracy, ease of use, and privacy-conscious design, PoseSonic represents a significant leap forward in wearable body-sensing technology.
The promising applications of PoseSonic stretch far and wide, from personal health and fitness monitoring to immersive augmented and virtual reality experiences. As research and development in this field progress, we can only anticipate further refinements and breakthroughs that will continue to push the boundaries of wearable technology. With PoseSonic at the forefront, we are on the brink of a new era in body-sensing innovation.