Oriana Wen, a double major in biomedical engineering and electrical and computer engineering, said she didn’t realize the full potential of cell phones until last year, when she worked on the Mobile Lighting Controls Team of the Smart Home. Using Internet-enabled cell phones, Oriana’s team expanded the range of control over the Smart Home dorm lights, enabling residents to "talk" to the lights system and easily turn off lights from any distance with the simple flip of a cell phone.
Inspired by that success, Oriana, originally from Plano, TX, is now working with Duke’s Romit Roy Choudhury in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Choudhury is the inspiration behind the PhonePoint Pen ‘write in the air with a phone’ concept much in the media this year. Oriana’s project aims to use a cell phone camera to record and track a finger’s movements in the air. Then she will map out the movement of the user’s finger to decipher what letters the user is writing.
“By examining the pauses of the finger, we hope to differentiate between intentional and unintentional strokes,” she explains. “The arrangement of these intended strokes will then map to a character that is registered by the phone.”
What’s more, the project can essentially be done even without a cell phone. As long as there is a video camera on hand, the finger can be recorded and tracked. This opens up new avenues of consideration such as eliminating chalk or dry erase boards from classrooms, or to helping hospital patients with limited range of motion to communicate more easily.