Everyday Devices That See: Electronic-Perception Technology
Electronic perception technology is a new, low-cost, single-chip imaging technology that creates 3D images of its nearby surroundings in real time, enabling everyday devices to "see." This project demonstrates the first application of this technology: a projection keyboard for mobile and wireless devices.
Canesta, Inc. has developed and patented new, low-cost, semiconductor-based methods for forming electronic images of nearby objects in three dimensions. Unlike the sensors in digital still and video cameras that see the world as flat images, Canesta technology can additionally compute the distance from the sensor of every single pixel in the image, in real time.
What is remarkable about this breakthrough is that the technology can be implemented in a single, low-cost CMOS chip that, along with the appropriate proprietary Canesta software, can bring electronic-perception technology to a wide range of consumer and industrial products ranging from cell phones to PDAs, games, and industrial, medical, and security equipment.
The first application of this technology is a chipset that can be integrated into mobile devices to provide a projection keyboard. Users simply put the device on any table and an image of a keyboard is projected on to the table in front of them. The user simply types on the table to enter text into the device. This innovation is expected to support more advanced applications (such as wireless email) in convenient form-factor devices such as cell phones and PDAs.
When everyday devices can perceive the world around them, entirely new levels of functionality and convenience become possible. A PDA that can watch its user's fingers type is just the first example. Other applications in a variety of markets could include doorknobs that recognize members of the household and open automatically, automobiles that can sense their occupants to deploy airbags appropriately, and security systems that can more easily tell the difference between an illicit action and an authorized activity. When this capability can be added to virtually any product in a cost-efficient manner, designers will let their imaginations run free.
Provide a solution to the data-input problem in mobile devices with a solution that has the ease of use of a full-sized keyboard but with no form factor.
Demonstrate that electronic perception technology can be reasonably implemented in a small, low-power, low-cost chipset.
Demonstrate what becomes possible when everyday devices can "see."
S. Burak Gokturk