(Note: This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.)
Gesture recognition is not only a technology for computer games and mobile devices – it increasingly is also an option for innovative automotive human-machine interfaces. Chip maker Elmos AG now has implemented the respective signal processing within one chip.
In an automotive context, gesture recognition can be used in many ways: It can be used to implement touchscreen-like user interfaces such as virtual keyboards for navigation systems, or slide bars for air conditioning units, or similar control elements in multimedia devices, in particular if the OEM wishes to implement haptic-free controls.
Other application options go beyond HMIs. Since it can be adjusted for a range of up to several meters, it also can be used to implement blind-spot recognition or for automatic park distance control devices, explained an Elmos spokesperson. Other applications include interior surveillance or a "wake-up system" for keyless entry systems in order to speed up the latter's reaction time.
Elmos' E909.06 integrated circuit makes use of optical and capacitive measurement principles to turn a gesture into an electric control signal. Both principles can be used simultaneously and independently of each other. In connection with a simple SMD infrared diode, the range is restricted to some 30 cm, but with other lighting elements, the range can be extended. Using a patented signal processing scheme dubbed HALIOS (High Ambience Light Independent Optical System) the action of the system is reliable also under changing exterior light conditions.
The device can be used to interpret gestures in x-, y- and z axis or any combination hereof, Elmos says. The reaction speed can be adjusted by software, with the measurement duration is only 250 microseconds per channel. An integrated 16-bit controller runs customer-specific software.
The product contains four independent output drivers, a differential reception channel and a characteristic compensation channel. In addition, eight digital I/O lines as well as I2C, SPI and LIN interfaces are implemented.
The chip is qualified for automotive use according to AEC Q100. However, the company also plans to offer it for other application fields such as contact-free controls in industrial, medical and customer devices.
For more information, visit Elmos' website under www.elmos.de