PORTLAND, Ore. -- Any embedded device can made to recognize 3D gestures in mid-air, with the addition of the new GestIC from Microchip Technology Inc. (Chandler, Arizona). Microchip supplies all the chips, development software and know-how, it claims, to enable engineers to quickly make any embedded device smart enough to respond to commands drawn in mid-air with your bare hands.
Microchip believes its newest GestIC chip is the most cost-effective gesture detection system available today. "We not only provide the lowest-cost entry point for easy-to-use yet advanced 3D hand gesture recognition," Fanie Duvenhage, director of Microchip’s Human Machine Interface Division told EE Times, "but by focusing our newest family member, the MGC3030, on the core gesture detection function, we make the software engineers job quick and easy too -- using our free, downloadable Aurea graphical user interface (GUI) and Colibri Gesture Suite."
Microchip says its newest GestIC -- the MGC3030 -- can control virtually anything with 3D gestures in mid-air. (Source: Microchip)
The $2 GestIC (MGC3030 in a SSOP28 package) includes a three-dimensional (3D) gesture processing unit that makes the engineers' job easy -- according to Duvenhage -- by detecting a wide variety of gestures with built-in algorithms. The GestIC is inexpensive enough for smart toys, yet smart enough to control audio systems, security systems, lighting systems and any other embedded application that could work smarter with gesture control, the company claims.
Microchip's latest GestIC accepts five sensor inputs to its gesture processing unit that can be programmed to recognize virtually any (reasonable) gesture to control device functions. (Source: Microchip)
The free, downloadable Aurea graphical user interface (GUI) which allows engineers to quickly configure the input-output ports to communicate with the host application processor or even directly control external devices without an application processor. The on-chip gesture processing unit is actually a 32-bit digital signal processor (DSP) with the built-in firmware to recognize gestures made over very simple sensors, eliminating the need for a camera or host processor.
A GestIC transmitter sends the 3D in-mid-air gesture sensed to the MGC3030, which recognizes the gesture and sends its name over to the application processor to execute. (Source: Microchip)
Microchip's Colibri Gesture Suite maintains an on-chip library of algorithms for engineers to use when recognizing sophisticated gestures, according to Microchip. Whenever possible, Colibri recognizes natural intuitive gestures without the need for physically touching the device, such as flicks for switching modes or circles drawn in mid-air to control continuous functions. Proximity, sliders for adjusting analog functions like volume control of audio or brightness of lighting are all built-in.
The GestIC development kit (DM160226) includes a five sensor board (top) and receiver chip (bottom right) and the gesture processing unit chip (bottom left) that interfaces to the application processor via USB.
Power savings in achieved by automatic wake-up whenever a hand is in proximity and auto-sleep when a hand is out of proximity keeping the steady-state power consumption under 100 micro-Watts, allowing the embedded device to be always-on without running down its the battery of mobile devices, according to Microchip.
The Woodstar Development Kit (MGC3030) includes all the parts needed to prototype an application and comes with all the chips and software mentioned above.
Microchip's family of GestICs and development kits enable embedded devices of any type to become super-smart by recognizing both touch and 3-D gestures in mid-air.
— R. Colin Johnson, Advanced Technology Editor, EE Times