Blowable computer interface

Remember Christopher Reeve’s blow controlled wheel chair? [Shwetak] sent in his blowable computer interface. It doesn’t require anything but an on-board microphone and a decent set of lungs. It works by taking audio fingerprints to determine the location on the screen that you’re exhaling on. The demo video (avi) shows off some surprisingly accurate location detection. You can get a few more details from his research paper. (If you need a decent avi video player, check out VLC player.)


  1. thethirdmoose says:

    why is his site so sloooooowwwwwww…

  2. Dean Putney says:

    I wonder if you could do this in Quartz Composer…

  3. Amos says:

    The server’s too slow/overtaxed to download either, but there’s apparently a WMV version that’s about 86% smaller:

    T’would be great if someone could mirror it.

  4. tbare says:

    Working on DLing the avi file… will post a link of a mirror to the file when it’s complete… (can’t guarantee it’ll be much faster, but at least you’ll have a choice…)

  5. Awesome stuff!

  6. sp says:

    You can view it on youtube:

  7. Aki says:

    Of course his site is slow…. I don’t think he expected the millions of hits he’d be barraged with once this story broke on Google. Chill out and give the guy time to upgrade his site storage.

  8. nex says:

    will there be some sourcecode or a downloadable binary? i really would like to look into that thing or at least just play with it.

  9. sp says:

    There is a plan to release a toolkit. Stay tuned.

  10. n3rrd says:

    Incredible. I’m always really interested by different means of input sensing… from the Acoustic interface with the piezoelectric elements to the LED proximity sensors…

    I can see this having a huge application, if coupled with voice recognition, in making computers completely accessible for crippled individuals.

  11. Ryan says:

    This can me used as an add-on to the Wii console to play wii games and such , like the eye toy idea maybe? this guy should sell this to Nintendo.

  12. joelanders says:


    the nintendo ds already uses this kinda thing.
    i know pokemon does at least, other games i don’t know.

    good freaking guess!

  13. no_Xkuez says:

    if only someone could make it blow back (no more cash for hookers ;P )

  14. Alex McCown says:

    you naughty little boy you

  15. Rob says:

    The new Zelda: The Phantom Hour Glass uses the microphone as a way to blow out candles in the game. This, however, is much cooler as it can bring more possibilities to the table.

  16. Joe says:

    lol. That is freaking awesome. 0_0

  17. Schnauzer says:

    It’d be interesting if this concept could be applied to creating a sort of touch-screen mouse. A pen (or something) would emit a high-pitched noise, too loud to be heard by the human ear, when it is touched to the screen. This would be how a user clicks the mouse button. Any programmers out there, please feel free to steal this idea :P

  18. Wii Lady says:

    Wow, this site is surely exciting.

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