Electronic Design

Hillcrest Labs to Bring Interactive, Motion-Sensing Capabilities to CE Devices

Location: South 2, Booth #26926

Hillcrest Labs will now license its patented Freespace motion control technology for use across a wide range of consumer electronics products, expanding its application beyond television remote controls.

With Freespace motion control technology embedded in handheld devices, consumers can operate CE equipment and use natural movements to navigate and select content on-screen with point-and-click interactivity. Hillcrest's first Freespace-enabled product, The Loop, is a bracelet-shaped television remote control with just two buttons and a scroll wheel. Users hold The Loop in one hand, and it translates their motions into on-screen cursor movements. Using the scroll wheel and the two buttons, users can browse through TV channels or change the volume.

Hillcrest Labs will now offer Freespace motion control technology to companies that produce PC peripherals, home entertainment consoles, game controllers, TV remote controls, and other CE devices. The company has already signed deals with major CE manufacturers that intend to announce commercially available Freespace-enabled products early next year.

"While Hillcrest Labs offers a complete, pointer-based interactive media system for television, we recognize that components of our system, such as Freespace, have valuable commercial viability on their own," said Dan Simpkins, CEO of Hillcrest Labs. "By making Freespace motion control technology available independently, we're able to serve a wider audience of customers and partners, enabling them to deliver uniquely interactive experiences with a wide range of CE devices."

"The video game industry has been the first to widely utilize motion-sensing technology in home entertainment devices, such as Nintendo's highly-anticipated Wii controller," said Danny Briere, senior analyst and CEO of TeleChoice. "Recently, we've seen companies from Nike to Nokia take steps in this direction too. In today's interconnected world, consumers seek out interactive and immersive experiences, and Freespace pointing could be a significant differentiator for companies looking to bring this capability to their product lines — from PC peripherals to devices offered by broadband service providers."

Freespace utilizes patented digital signal processing that uses gravity and other inertial forces to detect its position in the air. The software translates motion instantaneously, and automatically adjusts for natural hand tremors. Unlike older technologies that are based merely on gyroscopes, Freespace pointing devices work regardless of directional orientation. Since users do not need to aim the device towards a screen, they are free to hold the device in whatever position feels most comfortable to them. As part of Hillcrest's complete product portfolio, Freespace won last year's International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award, presented by the Consumer Electronics Association.

The company has also acquired a broad set of intellectual property rights related to interactive, motion-sensing capabilities for CE devices. Hillcrest's complete interactive media system includes Freespace motion control technology and HoME, a new "zoomable" graphical user interface (GUI) for televisions, and a robust back-end metadata and content-recommendation platform. Hillcrest will be exhibiting at the 2007 CES in Las Vegas, at South 2, booth #26926. For more information about Hillcrest Labs, visit www.hillcrestlabs.com.

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