New Pixart gesture sensor creates a three-dimensional space extending 6 inches above your smartphone

by: Robert TriggsFebruary 20, 2014

samsung galaxy s4 after the hype aa air gesture

Gesture inputs are fancy additions found in high end devices, like the Galaxy Note 3 or Galaxy S4, but so far implementation has been limited to just a few features in just a few handsets. PixArt has been working hard on improving this technology, and its new PAC7620 sensor could be the next gesture device found in your high-end smartphone.

The sensor is infra-red based, which creates a three dimensional space extending six inches above the phone, a substantial increase over the three inch limit for Air Gestures found on the Galaxy S4. In this space, the sensor can track nine different gesture directions (up, down, left, right, wave, forward, backward, clockwise, and counterclockwise), which can be combined to provide a wide range of user inputs.

Some benefits to PixArt’s technology include improved gesture recognition in comparison to simple photodiode, camera based, approaches. The PAC7620 also has lower power consumption and latency when compared to conventional cameras solutions paired with software gesture recognition

Our company vision is to develop innovative human/machine interface solutions with our advanced imaging technologies. Providing the capability for users to easily operate their phones with simple hand movements creates a smooth, intuitive interaction for users to heighten their enjoyment of advanced technologies,

If you’d like to take a look at the device in action, the video below is taken from a prototype demoed in November of last year:

This technology could be heading to a smartphone sooner than you might expect, as PixArt has recently announced an agreement with handset manufacturer Pantech to offer gesture motion capabilities for its IM-A880S 5.6 inch smartphone. Currently, the Pantech IM-A880S (VEGA LTE-A) user gestures include, basic navigation (Up, Down, Left, Right) for browsing or scrolling web, pages, zoom in/out function for pictures or 3-D space movement, and scroll gestures for forward and reverse movement and volume control through video or music.

We believe this gesture sensor will help to spur new innovative trends in user gestures for application not only in smart phones but also in other devices as well.

Although this handset is only available in South Korea, it could be the first of a new wave of improved motion gesture devices, which may not just be limited to large smartphones. The other day we had a look at a wearable Bluetooth gesture device, and one can’t help but wonder if wearable IR could make an even more versatile product.

Do you value gesture inputs on your smartphone, or do you view it as more of a gimmick?

  • Sam Connell

    No more greasy fingerprints on my screen. The future is now.

    • Andrew White

      It is definitely a worthy addition to the tool box. I envisage this tech might be of some use in hospitals, nuclear power plants etc where there is a real need to reduce risk through contamination or immediate physical injury.

  • MasterRothschild

    Oh boy, that looks *sooo* much easier than just using a keyboard or touching your phone.


    This is so gimmicky, no one is going to use it in real life. The only reason for humans to use gestures to interact with devices is if they aren’t close enough to touch the display…like with a TV on the wall. Besides that, this is horribly inefficient human interface design….unless you already have to practice Kung-Fu moves like, “swat the fly.”

    • Kenne Phimmasonsouk

      Man touch less control and active assist is no gimmick. It has been the best features on any phone period. Just needs active assist all the time.

      • MasterRothschild

        Uhhh, look up how many muscles it takes to do an air gesture vs touching the screen or swiping the screen with 1 finger.

        A much better Human Interface Device than touching or swiping a screen would be natural human language comprehension.

        Like I said, you already have to be at least 6″ close to the screen for this to even work. It takes more muscles to do an air gesture vs moving your finger closer to just touch the screen. However, if you are really far from the screen, like cooking in the kitchen and don’t want to bother with finding the remote, I can see how using air gestures to change the channel or volume can be more efficient than trying to find the remote.

        But on a phone or tablet? GIMMICKY! It’s already right there in front of you, just touch the daym thing! Unless you really feel the need to do some Kung-Fu Harry Potter moves.

  • arcwindz

    Actually, i like the way that our technology moves forward. Sure it may seem gimmicky now, but think how it will help shape the future.
    A floating virtual keyboard
    A workstation that works like in those sci-fi movie!
    And all those pack in a device not bigger than your hands and a head mounted display in a simple eyeglass form.
    Hmm… Not so farfetch anymore