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

PixArt has signed a deal with Pantech for a new smartphone gesture sensor which offers up to 6 inches of range, double that of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
February 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?