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Hillcrest Labs' Scoop Pointer is decidedly less loopy than its predecessor

Hillcrest Labs' Scoop Pointer is decidedly less loopy than its predecessor
Brian Heater
Brian Heater|August 31, 2011 12:02 AM
Remember the ringtastic Loop that motion control manufacturer Hillcrest Labs introed back in 2009? The Scoop Pointer is its more straightforward followup, an in-air mouse with six-axis control, nine programmable buttons, and souped up hardware and firmware. The pointer will be dropping in Q4, likely carrying a non-Hillcrest brand name.
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Hillcrest Labs Unveils Next-Generation Portfolio of Motion Control Software and Products

Rockville, MD – August 31, 2011 – Hillcrest Labs today unveiled its second-generation family of user interface solutions that pave the way for a wide range of products to incorporate state of the art natural user interfaces (NUI's). During the past decade, Hillcrest's research and development team delivered Freespace®, a leading natural motion control technology, to a wide range of the CE industry's leaders, along with a suite of interactive TV applications. Hillcrest has more than 50 issued patents, with more than 200 applications pending, for its ground breaking technology, and has received numerous accolades for its products. In its tenth year of operations, Hillcrest has designed its newest products to make the integration of natural user interfaces possible in a wide range of markets, such as television and digital media, smart boards, virtual reality systems, and many others.

For customers who need the most flexibility, the new Freespace MotionEngine™ provides a fully featured motion software stack that simplifies integration of inertial and magnetic sensors for a variety of uses. For customers who want to incorporate a completely designed motion sensor solution, Hillcrest offers a family of new sensor modules. These physical devices come in a variety of configurations that include various combinations of MEMS motion sensors, motion processors, and appropriate APIs. Hillcrest also offers fully designed reference remote controls for those companies that have limited in-house design services, leveraging Hillcrest's expertise in industrial design, MEMS electronics, and mass scale manufacturing.

"We offer the broadest suite of motion products available from any single supplier today," said Dan Simpkins, founder and CEO of Hillcrest Labs. "Nearly 10 years ago, our vision was to use a motion pointing interface to control interactive TV, and today our vision has become a reality. Our new product portfolio gives our customers maximum flexibility to incorporate Freespace motion control into their products and accelerate their time to market."

Hillcrest's motion solutions, based on Freespace technology, simplify the design of motion enabled products. Today's new product portfolio gives more companies low cost, high performing, and highly scalable motion solutions for their future product lines. Customers can access Hillcrest's design know-how to effectively use inertial and other sensors in a wide range of applications.

An Unparalleled Portfolio of Motion Products

From software to completed designs, Hillcrest offers an unmatched suite of motion solutions, with global expertise in software, hardware, MEMS, DSP, industrial design, mechanical design, and manufacturing. Hillcrest's new family of products includes:

Freespace MotionEngine: Hillcrest's new product, the Freespace MotionEngine, is an embedded software platform that provides an integrated solution to enable MEMS inertial and magnetic sensors to work effectively and consistently in mass production. Hillcrest's patented motion control software platform provides a sensor-agnostic solution for motion control devices using accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers (compasses) in a variety of configurations. The MotionEngine software can be licensed for integration into a customer's hardware, or it can be purchased as part of a module or remote control offered by Hillcrest. The key functions of the MotionEngine are sensor fusion, calibration, 3D device motion, gestures, and cursor control, which are implemented with sensors from a variety of the leading MEMS suppliers. This latest release is a modular software solution that can run on an embedded microcontroller or host processor, which provides greater implementation flexibility than its predecessor. For remote controls and game controllers, this enables the MotionEngine to run on the controller, on a USB dongle, or directly on a TV or set-top box system-on-a-chip (SoC). Motion data processed by the MotionEngine is delivered using a standards-based API and is compatible with USB, Bluetooth®, RF4CE, and other RF protocols. The Freespace MotionEngine is the same software embedded in the new line of Roku 2 streaming media players and LG's Smart TVs. Key applications include: TV remote controls, game controllers, mobile phones, and more.

Freespace Sensor Modules: For companies that want to easily integrate motion control into their own products, Hillcrest launched a line of new embeddable modules. Examples include the FSM-SENS-1, a 6-axis sensor-only module that integrates with an external Freespace MotionEngine, and the FSM-SI-2, which combines the Freespace MotionEngine on an embedded microprocessor along with a 3-axis digital gyroscope, 3-axis digital accelerometer and optional 3-axis magnetometer (compass) to provide high-performance, calibrated motion data for a variety of applications. Freespace Sensor Modules are used by engineers to add inertial motion control to a product without having to learn about motion sensing or MEMS. These compact modules, the smallest of which is 9mm x 19mm x 2.5mm, are pre-calibrated for mass production, provide a well-documented API for interpreting motion, and provide data such as cursor position, linear acceleration, angular position, and angular velocity to enable the creation of novel applications. Key applications include: remote controls; virtual/augmented reality headsets; HMDs (head-mounted displays); robotics; industrial automation; and motion analysis for sports, fitness and medical diagnostic products.

The Scoop™ Pointer: The Scoop pointer is a second-generation in-air mouse with 6-axis motion control, which interfaces wirelessly to any PC, Mac®, or USB HID compatible device through a USB dongle. This new OEM product is a reference design that will be available in the fourth quarter to companies that need a complete off-the-shelf device for their consumers. It will replace the Loop™ pointer and includes numerous enhancements, such as a smaller and lighter form factor, new chipset and firmware for lower costs and better performance, nine programmable buttons and a scroll wheel, and full 6-axis control to enable better gesture and game play. There are two versions of the Scoop pointer, one optimized for TV viewing, and one with a red laser pointer designed as a handheld wireless presenter. Hillcrest has already signed agreements with CE manufacturers that will bring the Scoop pointer to market later this year, under their own brand names. Hillcrest does not intend to sell the Scoop pointer directly to consumers.

In addition to its newest products, Hillcrest continues to offer several Freespace Reference Kits (FSRKs) to give product designers and software developers all the components, tools, and documentation needed to rapidly prototype motion control devices.
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