Qualcomm acquires ultrasound tech for future Snapdragon chips

November 18, 2012
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    Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI) has acquired “certain assets” from EPOS Development, Ltd.,  a company whose main focus is on digital ultrasound technology. That may sound strange at first, but the company uses this technology for new input solutions like pen, stylus and even gesture based input. Once you realize what this could mean for smartphones, it gets a lot more interesting.

    How Will This Benefit Android Devices?

    This new technology could have a wide range of implications for future Snapdragon-powered devices. Early on, we could see S Pen-like styluses for more devices, even with more advanced features. Looking even further forward, it could mean touch-free interfaces for devices. Soon enough, you could be trading in your touchscreen for a touch-less screen.

    In the press release announcing this acquisition, senior vice president of product management for QTI, Raj Talluri said that “EPOS’ technology goes beyond the PC-era mouse and keyboard and enables touch-free gesture and pen interactions as user input mechanisms. Enabling this technology on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor will allow devices that accommodate a more mobile and multimedia-centric lifestyle.”

    Will This Be Expensive?

    Qualcomm plans to use this technology for smartphones, tablet and e-readers. While it sounds like these new technologies could lead to even more expensive devices, that may not be the case. CEO for EPOS, Oded Turbahn, said in the press release that “Ultrasound technology provides device manufacturers a low-cost approach for integrating pen and stylus-based user interfaces into their products while gaining the benefit of a slew of new capabilities.”

    While we have no idea how long it might take to see this new technology on the market, it certainly seems like it could bring some very interesting new ways of using our devices. For more information, see the press release below.

    What do you think of the future possibilities for Snapdragon-powered devices now that Qualcomm has acquired this new technology? How long do you think it will take to see this technology in our hands?

    Show Press Release

    SAN DIEGO, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), today announced that it has acquired certain assets of EPOS Development, Ltd. (EPOS), a leading developer of ultrasound technologies for input solutions, including pen, stylus and gesture recognition. The company, based in Hod Hasharon, Israel, has developed digital positioning technology that enables device manufacturers to integrate advanced user input capabilities into a wide range of consumer devices.

    “As computing evolves beyond the PC, consumers are looking for intuitive new ways to interact with their mobile devices,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, QTI. “EPOS’ technology goes beyond the PC-era mouse and keyboard and enables touch-free gesture and pen interactions as user input mechanisms. Enabling this technology on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor will allow devices that accommodate a more mobile and multimedia-centric lifestyle.”

    The acquired assets will further strengthen and differentiate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, allowing unique and powerful next-generation user experiences for smartphones, tablets and e-readers. EPOS team members who are joining Qualcomm will be integrated into Qualcomm Israel’s R&D team and will be focused on delivering new mobile device and service capabilities.

    The EPOS technology is based on the digital transmission of ultrasonic waves, enabling precise tracking by a receiver to enable multiple applications.

    “Ultrasound technology provides device manufacturers a low-cost approach for integrating pen and stylus-based user interfaces into their products while gaining the benefit of a slew of new capabilities,” said Oded Turbahn, chief executive officer, EPOS. “Relative to other pen and stylus input solutions, the additional bill of material cost for the device is minimal as the technology does not require changes to the device’s screen and is independent of screen size. The EPOS team is excited about joining Qualcomm in working to further the potential of digital ultrasound.”

    EPOS’ ultrasound technology provides a differentiated, high-resolution user experience that works on screen and off screen, as well as in three dimensions. Qualcomm intends to provide digital pen/stylus reference designs to help accelerate adoption of this technology in the consumer, enterprise and education markets.

    About EPOS Development, Ltd.

    EPOS Development, Ltd. is a leading provider of advanced digital positioning technologies. Headquartered in Israel and backed by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Walden Israel Venture Capital and Tel-Ad, EPOS develops next-generation input solutions for consumer electronics and mobile devices.

    About Qualcomm Technologies

    Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), is redefining the way people incorporate wireless devices and services into everyday life. QTI and its subsidiaries operate substantially all of Qualcomm’s research and development activities, and product and services businesses, including Qualcomm’s semiconductor business, QCT. QTI’s developments enable opportunities across the wireless and wired value chains by making devices and networks faster, content richer and communications more personal and affordable to people everywhere. For more information, go to www.qualcomm.com.

    Comments

    • Netz Hog

      Still sounds a few years away, even if Sony already applies something similar with navigating without direct contact with the screen. So it’s not big a deal tracking finger movements or even opening drop-down windows without contact, but applying a command, in the way we are used to, still required “touch”.
      unfortunately, this article is a rather skimpy on details so it’s hard to work out what implications these newly acquired “assets” might have.

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