The rise of touchscreen Windows 8 PCs isn’t a happy occasion for anyone who’s been carefully keeping PC screens clean: years of slapping wayward hands have been undermined by an interface that practically begs us to smudge up the display. While we suspect it’s really aiming for ease of use, Elliptic Labs may have heard that subliminal cry for cleanliness while producing its new Windows 8 Gesture Suite, a touchless control system built for a very touch-focused platform. The company’s newest take on ultrasound control can pick up 3D hand motions near the display and invoke all of Windows 8’s edge swipes and scrolling without the extra effort (or grease) of putting skin to screen. The method doesn’t need a one-to-one map of the screen and can work even in pitch darkness, which leaves adoption mostly dependent on hardware support rather than any wary users — despite immediate availability for the SDK, PCs need extra microphones and transducers to drop the touch layer. If computers with the Gesture Suite arrive in the hoped-for 12 to 14 months, though, we can get back to obsessing over a fingerprint-free LCD while saving some physical strain in the process.
Elliptic Labs Launches First Commercial Touchless Gesturing Technology Using Ultrasound, Designed for Electronic Devices and Windows 8
Windows 8 Gesture Suite and SDK Available
PALO ALTO, Calif. – November 13, 2012 – Science fiction and futuristic movies stepped into reality today as a result of powerful new touchless gesturing technology from Elliptic Labs (www.ellipticlabs.com) based on ultrasound. Enabling consumer electronic devices to respond to natural hand movements all around a screen, Elliptic’s breakthrough technology is the first of its kind commercially available and has been incorporated in the Windows 8 Gesture Suite, introduced today. See video here.
Elliptic is the leader in ultrasonic touchless gesturing for consumer electronic devices. Its patented, low-power, responsive new technology is superior to the limited, camera-based approaches on the market. The Windows 8 Gesture Suite enables a touchless version of all touchscreen gestures in the new operating system. Combined with Elliptic’s SDK, the technology gives OEMs the flexibility to create disruptive new ways to interact with devices.
Elliptic’s ultrasound technology uses sound waves and microphones to detect movement, similar to how radar detects objects. The technology is not limited to detecting movement within camera view – it detects natural hand movements that extend beyond the camera, surrounding a device screen.
“Microsoft’s new Metro interface changes how consumers interact with the operating system and the design is a perfect fit for touchless gestures. Elliptic’s Windows 8 Gesture Suite gives users a touchless version of the gestures they already know from a touchscreen,” said Tobias Dahl, CTO and founder of Elliptic Labs.
“The future of technology lies in moving from touchscreen to gesture recognition, but to date, using cameras has proved limiting and unnatural to users,” he said. “Ultrasonic gesture technology uses sensors to deliver its capabilities and extends gesture-space to all sides of the screen, ensuring that the technology is robust and – unlike cameras – can be used in dark and bright light. Our Elliptic Windows 8 gestures gives users full control of the new interface by simple intuitive gestures in 3D space, enabling a more natural and efficient way to work.”
Ultrasonic touchless technology uses up to 95% less power than current camera image-based gestural systems, making it an attractive option for device manufactures around the world. Elliptic provides a Starter Kit for laptops; an out-of-the box solution that allows customers and partners to get started with ultrasound-based gestures without designing hardware. It also comes with an SDK that incorporates natural gestures into devices and delivers an extensive range of example applications. With the SDK, customer and partners can create disruptive new ways to interact with devices and applications beyond Windows 8. The set of controls allows using gestures for scrolling, selecting, rotating objects and controlling menus.
Elliptic’s software is in high demand by large OEM, ODMs and component and chip manufactures that are looking to integrate new capabilities allowing consumers to interact with tablets, ultrabooks and smartphones.