Thursday 11 March 2010

New Hand Tracker for mobile phones

One day in May 1997 I woke up  with an idea for a new type of mobile phone, that had no conventional  buttons, but  it would be controlled by invisible  sensors, i.e. accelerometers, screen touch sensors , face tracking devices.   I approached Peter Cochrane, Head of  BT Labs, Martlesham  to see if they were interested in it and could they fund me to  prototype it. They did and  we patented in 1997. Patent also covered hand writing recording, cameras, GPS tagging and cloud computing.  Microsoft liked this new type of phone and gave me position as a Reseacher at Microsoft Research Cambridge 1998-2007.  Microsoft were  offered this patent but didn't buy it.

Eventually, 11 years later  this phone  Patent sold to Apple in 2008 as covers  technology used in the iPhone, here is some of  the story

I left Microsoft in 2007 and founded  Girton Labs Ltd, Cambridge. Now in 2010  we are inventing and   building prototypes for  mobile phone technology for the next 5-10 years. There is so much competition now with phones,  a brand new type of novel hardware needs inventing to differential the rest  from the Apple iPhone.
  One thrilling new sensor design for mobile phones I can't talk about yet  as confidential for phone company. But here is one I can.  Here is a video of our new hand tracker. We have prototyped a proof of concept model:

If video doesn't fit on your screen, please  click on link below:

The video shows a hand being tracked with a  4x4 heat
array, of possible use to mobile phones and tablet pcs.
A Digital signal Processor decodes, left/right up/down  hand movement .
Applications for this new User Input  include web page  navigation, hand
gesture control and  power on/off for mobile phones and tablet computers.
Other applications include sterile medical controls and controlling simple
instruments in cars like GPS. It works with gloves unlike some hand trackers or touch screens.
The technology also includes these feature being done by a phone's built in camera
but the advantage over using ordinary built in  camera to track hands, is very low
processor overhead, (uses 4Mhz micrcocontroller for Digital Signal
Processing in prototype)  very low power and can work in low light
 Cost of sensor approx $5 in large quantities, Intellectual Property
owned entirely  by Girton Labs Ltd, Cambridge.
Please contact  Lyndsay Williams, for more information.