GestIC Gesture Recognition Controller Uses Electrical Fields

GestIC is here! Microchip Technology is releasing the first gesture interface controller that uses electrical fields to make 3-D measurements.

(Gesture Recognition Controller Uses Electrical Fields)

Microchip's MGC3130 is the world’s first electrical near field (E-field) 3D Tracking and Gesture Controller. Based on Microchip’s patented GestIC® technology, it allows users to interact with their devices using hand/finger position tracking and intuitive free-space gestures in real time. The MGC3130 is a unique solution that enables the next breakthrough in user interface design.

GestIC® technology uses transmit (Tx) frequencies f in the range of 100 kHz, which reflects a wavelength of about three (3) kilometers. With electrode geometries of typically less than twenty (20) by twenty (20) centimeters, this λTx wavelength is much larger in comparison.

(GestIC field lines undisturbed)

Therefore, the magnetic component is practically zero and no wave propagation takes place. The result is a quasi-static electrical near field that can be used for sensing conductive objects such as the human body.

Once a user intrudes the sensing area, the electrical field distribution becomes distorted. The field lines intercepted by the hand are shunted to ground through the conductivity of the human body itself. The simulation results in Figure 1 and Figure 2 show the influence of an earth grounded body to the electric field.

As illustrated, the proximity of the body causes a compression of the equipotential lines and shifts the receiver (Rx) electrode signal levels to a lower potential which is detected by the respective GestIC® technology product.

(E-fields distorted by human hand)

Zaphod Beeblebrox would love this. In his 1979 novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams describes a similar gesture-controlled interface that, well, could be a bit more precise.

A loud clatter of gunk music flooded through the Heart of Gold cabin as Zaphod searched the sub-etha radio wave bands for news of himself. The machine was rather difficult to operate. For years radios had been operated by means of pressing buttons and turning dials; then as the technology became more sophisticated the controls were made touch-sensitive--you merely had to brush the panels with your fingers; now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components and hope. It saved a lot of muscular expenditure, of course, but meant that you had to sit infuriatingly still if you wanted to keep listening to the same program.

Zaphod waved a hand and the channel switched again.

Let's hope that Microchip Technology's GestIC offers greater precision!

Via Technology Review and of course Microchip GestIC.

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