HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft Research Introduces AdHocProx: A New Way to Interact with Multiple Devices

Microsoft Research Introduces AdHocProx: A New Way to Interact with Multiple Devices

Microsoft Research announced AdHocProx at CHI 2023, a new way to co-locate collaboration across devices without beacons or Wi-Fi.


Research and ETH Zurich are introducing a new system known as AdHocProx, which the group describes as groundbreaking. According to the research team behind the project, AdHocProx makes co-locating collaboration across devices more efficient. Microsoft presented the technology at CHI 2023 and says it removes the current need for external beacons or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Imagine you are working on a project with your colleagues and you want to share some content from your tablet to their laptops. Or you want to annotate some notes on a second device while reading a document on the first one. How would you do that?

You might think of using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, or QR codes to connect and transfer data between devices. But these methods often require tedious setup, pairing, authentication, or scanning processes. They also rely on external infrastructure or central coordination that might not be available or reliable in some situations. And they do not take into account the physical proximity and orientation of the devices, which can provide rich contextual cues for interaction.

Microsoft's AdHocProx aims to change this process and make connections more efficient. The project is a system that uses device-relative, inside-out sensing to augment co-located collaboration across multiple devices, without recourse to externally-anchored beacons – or even reliance on Wi-Fi connectivity.

How AdHocProx Works for Connecting Collaborative Devices

To achieve this, Microsoft Research and ETH Zurich use sensors in AdHocProx, including dual ultra-wideband (UWB) radios that help to measure distance and angle between devices. Furthermore, a capacitive grip determines whether a user holds a device or not.

AdHocProx enables a number of cross-device interaction scenarios for highly dynamic, ad-hoc device formations, whether for lab or smart room use.

AdHocProx was developed by researchers from and presented at the CHI 2023 conference in Hamburg, Germany. The researchers conducted an offline evaluation with 12 participants and found that AdHocProx can obtain 95% accuracy in recognizing various ad-hoc device arrangements. 

They also conducted a follow-up study with six participants and gathered feedback on four example interaction techniques enabled by AdHocProx. The participants were particularly appreciative of interaction techniques that automatically leverage proximity-awareness and relative orientation amongst multiple devices.

Tip of the day: It's a good idea to backup your computer on a regular basis, and the most fool-proof way is to manually create a disk image and save it to an external hard drive.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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