Gesture-based interaction with human machine interface (HMI) screens is making its way into industrial use, and new technology from Plessy Semiconductor, a European maker of semiconductors used in sensing and measurement applications, may make it easier to retrofit existing systems. A new, low cost, contactless gesture-recognition technology called imPart is being shown at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 in Las Vegas January 8-11.
Using Plessey Semiconductor's EPIC electric potential sensors, imPart technology is designed to fit around computer monitors, portable laptop computers, ultra books and tablets to facilitate the control of devices using "no touch" gestures such as swipe, flick, up, and down. A “left-click” function, for example, is accomplished by hovering the hand at any required point for more than half a second.
Plessey's unique low-power EPIC sensors detect changes in electric potential, and enable devices to be gesture-enabled without needing expensive, power hungry, capacitive touchscreen technology or video cameras.
This new technology can detect very small signals even at a distance of up to 4 inches without physical contact. At the Consumer Electronics Show, an imPart reference design will be demonstrated that illustrates how to implement a contactless pointing device in a wide range of products. A video demonstration of the technology can be viewed online.
According to the company, EPIC sensors work by detecting changes in the Earth's atmospheric electric potential field caused by a hand or body moving through it. The technology functions as an ultra-high input impedance sensor that acts as a highly stable, extremely sensitive, contactless voltmeter to measure tiny changes in the electric field down to milliVolts.
EPIC sensors are available now in North America from Saelig Company, Inc.