PORTLAND, Ore.–Hillcrest Labs Inc. announced Tuesday (Aug. 28) it downsized its motion processing algorithms to run on an 8-bit microcontroller inside a television remote control.
Known as Freespace MotionEngine Lite, the software allows nearly any TV manufacture to convert existing "dumb" models into Smart TVs merely by choosing the right remote.
All Smart TVs today run their motion processing algorithms on the 32-bit application processor inside the television, relegating the remote control to merely sending the raw sensor data from the MEMS accelerometer and gyroscope inside it.
"Any television manufacturer who controls an on-screen cursor with buttons today can now upgrade that model to a smart TV by running our motion processing algorithms on their remote control," said Chad Lucien, senior vice president at Hillcrest (Rockville, Md.).
Texas Instruments has signed on, announcing simultaneously that its ZigBee RF4CE (radio frequency for consumer electronics) and Bluetooth system-on-chips (SoCs)—CC2533 and CC2541, respectively—can now run Hillcrest's Freespace MotionEngine Lite. Also remote control makers SMK Electronics and Universal Electronics have signed up and are currently offering smart remotes running Freespace MotionEngine Lite to television manufacturers, with end-user products due by Christmas.
Hillcrest Labs has managed to downsize its Freespace MotionEngine algorithms to run entirely on the 8-bit microcontrollers the Smart TV remote control.
Besides an 8-bit microcontroller and RF transceiver, the remote control needs to house both a MEMS accelerometer and gyroscope. Freespace MotionEngine Lite loads into the remote control's flash memory and performs all necessary analytics to derive x-y cursor locations from the raw MEMS data, which it transmits to the television over its wireless link. No user calibration is necessary, and all inadvertant motion glitches—such as hand tremors, or jerks when pressing buttons—being automatically smoothed out by Freespace MotionEngine Lite.
As a result, users can use the smart remote to point at menu items on-screen for point-and-click web browsing, gaming and menu selection on par with more expensive smart TVs that run their motion processing on the television's 32-bit application processor. Smart TV manufacturers can also integrate their MotionEngine powered remotes with Hillcrest's Gesture Recognition Engine, which runs on the application processor to enable 50 pre-defined gestures.
TV manufacturers can also upgrade to the full version the Freespace MotionEngine for Smart TVs at any time. Freespace MotionEngine Lite can also be used with set-top boxes and PCs to enable remote control operations. Licensees of Hillcrest's Freespace algorithms include Eastman Kodak, LG Electronics, Logitech, Roku, SMK Electronics, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., TCL Multimedia, and Universal Electronics (UEI).