Chirp Microsystems, the pioneer in low-power ultrasonic sensing solutions, today introduced at Mobile World Congress 2017 the first high-accuracy, ultra-low power ultrasonic sensing development platform for wearables. The new Chirp development platform -- which leverages the company's microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based time-of-flight (ToF) sensor -- senses tiny "microgestures" with 1mm accuracy, allowing users to interact with wearables and other consumer electronics devices using the smallest of gestures.
Chirp's ToF sensor is also the foundation for vastly superior virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR) experiences, which the company demonstrated privately at Mobile World Congress. Chirp's ultrasonic sensing development platform for VR/AR enhances the mobility of users, supporting "inside-out tracking" of controllers or input devices with six degrees of freedom, which allows users to interact with the VR/AR environment without being tethered to a base station or confined to a prescribed space. They can literally take their VR/AR systems with them. In VR/AR applications, Chirp's development platform offers significant benefits over camera-based controller-tracking systems. It makes possible a 360-degree immersive experience because the tracking system moves with the user. It also supports a wide field of view, a vast improvement over the narrow field of view that camera-based systems provide.
"Chirp has developed a revolutionary new approach to ultrasonic sensing that expands the ways in which users can interact with consumer electronics devices," said Michelle Kiang, CEO, Chirp Microsystems. "We are demonstrating some of those ways this week at Mobile World Congress. Wearing a Chirp-enabled smartwatch, I can use subtle finger gestures on the back of my hand, controlling watch functions without ever touching the screen. I will also demonstrate how Chirp makes the mobile VR experience one step closer to that of high-end tethered VR systems. We developed an ultrasonically tracked, six-degree-of-freedom controller that connects to any mobile VR headset, letting me play a VR saber game anywhere on the show floor, or even under the sunlight outside the exhibit halls. Since the controller is tracked from the headset, I can move anywhere in the virtual environment and the tracking moves with me, making the VR experience that much more immersive."