A Telling Gesture: Qualcomm Acquires Assets Of Digital Ultrasound Company, EPOS, To “Differentiate” Next-Gen Snapdragon Chips

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Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of mobile chipmaker Qualcomm, has announced it has acquired “certain assets” from Israeli company, EPOS Development, which develops low-cost, digital ultrasound positioning technologies for use in input systems such as pen, stylus and gesture recognition.

Here’s how EPOS describes its technology on its website

EPOS technology is based on the transmission of ultrasonic acoustic waves between two or more devices via a Transmitter and a software-based Receiver. The Transmitter, embedded within an input device, sends constant acoustic signals to the software-based Receiver that in turn, uses them to measure the distance and position of the pointing device.

Enabling advanced, embedded technologies for both 2 and 3 Dimensional input solutions, EPOS technology uses only standard MEMs microphones, making it low in cost and easy to integrate with only minimal hardware and design changes required.

Qualcomm said the acquired assets will be incorporated into its Snapdragon processor — a chipset used to power a large variety of Android and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets — in order to “strengthen and differentiate” the chipset, and support “powerful next generation user experiences” for smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

Qualcomm also noted EPOS’ technology works both on and off screen and in three dimensions — flagging up the potential for no-touch user interfaces to be deployed in future mobile devices, moving beyond the current preoccupation with touchscreens. Although Qualcomm also said it intends to provide “digital pen/stylus reference designs” to help accelerate adoption of EPOS’ ultrasound technology across “consumer, enterprise and education” markets — so it’s clearly not exclusively interested in gesture-based input mechanisms.

“As computing evolves beyond the PC, consumers are looking for intuitive new ways to interact with their mobile devices,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, QTI, in a statement. “EPOS’ technology goes beyond the PC-era mouse and keyboard and enables touch-free gesture and pen interactions as user input mechanisms. Enabling this technology on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor will allow devices that accommodate a more mobile and multimedia-centric lifestyle.”

Some EPOS staff are joining Qualcomm and will be integrated into the chipmaker’s Israel’s R&D team where they will be working on “delivering new mobile device and service capabilities”.

Release follows below

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), today announced that it has acquired certain assets of EPOS Development, Ltd. (EPOS), a leading developer of ultrasound technologies for input solutions, including pen, stylus and gesture recognition. The company, based in Hod Hasharon, Israel, has developed digital positioning technology that enables device manufacturers to integrate advanced user input capabilities into a wide range of consumer devices.

“As computing evolves beyond the PC, consumers are looking for intuitive new ways to interact with their mobile devices,” said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, QTI. “EPOS’ technology goes beyond the PC-era mouse and keyboard and enables touch-free gesture and pen interactions as user input mechanisms. Enabling this technology on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor will allow devices that accommodate a more mobile and multimedia-centric lifestyle.”

The acquired assets will further strengthen and differentiate Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, allowing unique and powerful next-generation user experiences for smartphones, tablets and e-readers. EPOS team members who are joining Qualcomm will be integrated into Qualcomm Israel’s R&D team and will be focused on delivering new mobile device and service capabilities.

The EPOS technology is based on the digital transmission of ultrasonic waves, enabling precise tracking by a receiver to enable multiple applications.

“Ultrasound technology provides device manufacturers a low-cost approach for integrating pen and stylus-based user interfaces into their products while gaining the benefit of a slew of new capabilities,” said Oded Turbahn, chief executive officer, EPOS. “Relative to other pen and stylus input solutions, the additional bill of material cost for the device is minimal as the technology does not require changes to the device’s screen and is independent of screen size. The EPOS team is excited about joining Qualcomm in working to further the potential of digital ultrasound.”

EPOS’ ultrasound technology provides a differentiated, high-resolution user experience that works on screen and off screen, as well as in three dimensions. Qualcomm intends to provide digital pen/stylus reference designs to help accelerate adoption of this technology in the consumer, enterprise and education markets.

About EPOS Development, Ltd.

EPOS Development, Ltd. is a leading provider of advanced digital positioning technologies. Headquartered in Israel and backed by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), Walden Israel Venture Capital and Tel-Ad, EPOS develops next-generation input solutions for consumer electronics and mobile devices.

About Qualcomm Technologies

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. (QTI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM), is redefining the way people incorporate wireless devices and services into everyday life. QTI and its subsidiaries operate substantially all of Qualcomm’s research and development activities, and product and services businesses, including Qualcomm’s semiconductor business, QCT. QTI’s developments enable opportunities across the wireless and wired value chains by making devices and networks faster, content richer and communications more personal and affordable to people everywhere. For more information, go to www.qualcomm.com.