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Using sonar to manage a laptop's display power
Here's the link to the Slashdot article I mentioned at Saturday afternoon's SILUG meeting. It describes what I think is a brilliant idea -- one that's hard to believe hasn't been thought of before: http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/09/10/15/2121214/Sonar-Software-Detects-Laptop-User-Presence
Sonar Software Detects Laptop User Presence on Thursday October 15, @05:22PM
"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 (at http://stevetarzia.com/sonar"
Since this article was first posted, Steve Tarzia has updated his SonarPM from v0.73 to v0.74b and added binary and source RPMs for Fedora. Non-Fedora Linux users will have to complile their own binaries from a tarball. If that poses a problem, Steve can probably arrange an introductory short course for you.