Windows 7 Sensors Explained

Windows 7 Sensors was one of the first new functions that was spotted in one of the early builds of Windows 7 although it was not clear what the feature was all about. Some light was shed on Windows 7 Sensors at the PDC 08 conference in Los Angeles. Now what exactly are the sensors and what is their function in Windows 7? Windows 7 will support both hardware and software sensors. Hardware sensors can be devices like a microphone, accelerometer or motion detector while software based sensors can for example react on information received from a network or the Internet. Microsoft published a list of possible sensors, their placement and typical use.

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The list contains both sensors that are build into the computer or attached to a person and sensors that communicate remotely with Windows 7. One example to explain the use of sensors would be the following. The light awareness sensor would make it possible for Windows 7 to react automatically on different lighting conditions. Take a look at an example map application that changes its interface depending on the lighting condition.

Normal Interface:

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Interface in direct sunlight:

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Interface in low light environments:

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Microsoft published several white papers on the newly created Windows Sensor and Location Platform site. They contain interesting information, screenshots and links to blog posts about Windows 7 Sensors.

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