Making ‘always on’ ULP touchless gesture control a reality

26th November 2013
Nat Bowers

Wolfson Microelectronics and Elliptic Labs jointly announce a partnership which will integrate Wolfson’s industry-leading Audio Digital Signal Processor platform with Elliptic Labs’ ultrasonic gesture control solution. Ideal for consumer electronics devices such as smartphones and tablets, as well as for in-car infotainment, this combined technology makes ‘always on’ ultrasonic, low power touchless gesture control a reality.

“Along with voice control, touchless gesture control is fast becoming one of the next generation human-machine interfaces for mobile and wearable devices. The form-factors and use cases of new devices increasingly make touch control impractical. The barrier to this new technology being more widely adopted has been power consumption. Wolfson removes this barrier to enable true ‘always on’ handsfree control in all situations. Elliptic Labs is at the forefront of this new technology trend, and we are delighted to work with them to port their ultrasonic touchless gesture control solution onto our ultra-low power platform,” comments Andy Brannan, Chief Commercial Officer at Wolfson Microelectronics.

Elliptic Labs’ solution can deliver 3D gesture control with a 180-degree field of view at all sides of the device. Using sound waves to interpret hand movements, this is the only technology currently integrated into portable devices to offer thiese features. Capable of identifying near-field and mid-air gestures with focus up to 50 cm, Wolfson’s ultra-low power ADSP platform enables the electronic device to be ‘always on and always looking’ for gestures without any significant drain on battery life.

Laila Danielsen, CEO of Elliptic Labs, commented: “Integrating Elliptic Labs’ ultrasonic touchless gesturing solution with Wolfson’s ADSP platform gives device manufacturers a way to offer the advantages of touchless gesturing to consumers while ensuring extremely low power consumption. Today, OEMs are keen to enable mobile devices to be ‘always on and always looking’ for hand gestures while consuming minimal power, and working alongside low power voice control. Our combined technology can ensure this becomes a reality for the market.”

Providing exceptional signal-to-noise ratio, Wolfson’s ADSP family of Audio Hubs offer a range of processing options, including up to 600 MIPS of processing power. This high-end variant enables superior audio quality, as well as providing an ultra-low power processing platform for other real-world interfaces requiring accurate analogue-to-digital conversion and advanced DSP. The ADSP family is platform agnostic and can therefore run Wolfson's suite of sound enhancing and noise reduction software, customers' own software or third party software, such as Elliptic Labs’ ultrasonic gesture control solution. This enables mobile device manufacturers to differentiate their product in the marketplace, while also optimising battery life.

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