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Sound waves could bring gesture control to mobile devices

Oct. 10, 2013 at 6:18 PM   |   Comments

OLSO, Norway, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A Norwegian start-up says its ultrasound chip intended to bring gesture control to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets could be in production next year.

Elliptic Labs is in talks with Asian handset manufacturers to get the chip -- which uses sound waves to interpret a user's hand movements -- embedded in consumer devices, the BBC reported Thursday.

Current gesture recognition systems can only interpret hand movements within a very small zone, Elliptic designers said, while the ultrasonic chip can recognize gestures anywhere in a 180-degree field.

"The user needs to learn the exact spot to gesture to instead of having a large interactive space around the device," interface designer Erik Forsstrom said of current technologies.

"With a small screen such as a phone or a tablet, the normal body language is not that precise," he said. "You need a large zone in which to gesture."

Elliptic's gesture-control system offers a wide field and can recognize gestures made as far as 3 feet from a device, identifying mid-air gestures accurately, he said.

If users become comfortable with the effects their gestures have on a display screen, he said, "it is quite likely that this is the next step within mobile."

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