10-15-2009, 5:34 PM
A research group at Northwestern University and University of Michigan has released open-source display power-management software that uses a new user presence detection technique. The goal is to shut off the display immediately when the user leaves the computer rather than using slow and error-prone mouse/keyboard activity timeouts. Surprisingly, the mic and speakers of many laptop computers are sensitive to ultrasonic frequencies. Those frequencies can be used to silently probe the laptop's physical environment. This software is based on research published at the UbiComp2009 conference. A Windows binary and source code for Windows and Linux are available for download.