Gesture control is heating up, with a host of new entries finally following Microsoft’s example with the Kinect, including Leap Motion and MYO. A German company called pmdtechnologies has also been in the space for a few years (they’ve been working on their tech for 10 years, in fact), and their latest reference design, the CamBoard pico, is a 3D depth sensor based on what pmd calls its “time-of-flight” tech to delivery extremely accurate depth measurement for gesture control of PCs.
The CamBoard pico follows the CamBoard nano, the company’s previous reference design, and improves on pmd’s existing depth sensor by offering more accurate, touch-free gesture control. It works by offering a “3D interaction volume,” made up of a point cloud, which pmd says means it can be more accurate than Leap Motion, which just identifies points for fingertips to help it determine relative spacial distance.
pmd offers its designs for sale to consumer electronics companies and other clients (it creates a lot of car safety and industrial robotics sensors, for instance) to help them build their own gesture sensing devices, which means the tech found in the CamBoard pico reference design could find its way to modules integrated into notebooks, into webcams, or into dedicated motion controllers from to OEM brands.
The gesture control market is definitely picking up steam, and that means some companies like pmd which have been around for a long time but have largely served niche industries will get a chance to move more to the foreground. With something like a new mode of interaction, quality of experience is the key to stickiness, however, so both veteran and rookie players here will sink or swim based on how pleasant or frustrating using their devices proves to be.