Wearable Tech World Feature Article
October 13, 2014

Spectra7 Releases New VR Gesture Recognition Chip

Spectra7 Microsystems, a manufacturer of microchips made to be used in virtual reality components, recently announced the release of its latest gesture recognition chip.

The company's newest chip, the VR7050, can be combined with the VR7100 high-speed video chip to complete extremely fast connections that cater directly to the needs of virtual reality such as the need for lightweight and small, but powerful and fast, chipsets. Spectra7 says the VR7050 comes in at only 1.6 mm by 1.6 mm, so it is able to fit inside connectors as small as Micro USB. Even at that small stature, however, it is also reportedly able to deliver gesture and motion control in an "unprecedented" manner. Tony Stelliga, CEO of Spectra7, commented that the chip is essential to the future of virtual reality adoption.

"Replacing the tethered game controller with gesture recognition is critical to the mass market adoption of virtual reality," Stelliga said. "New interconnects based on Spectra7's VR7050 will now be able to provide seamless transport of gestures and motion data via HMD mounted miniature cameras or sensors, greatly simplifying and enhancing the consumer VR experience."

The goal of the chip is to provide gesture recognition that seems fluid to humans who are using virtual reality devices. According to the company's announcement, recognition must feel natural and have as little latency as possible. In short, to have the best experience possible, people will not want to feel like they are using a machine; they want to feel as if they are in a natural environment.

To achieve that goal, Spectra7 says, players in the industry are experimenting with forward-facing cameras that can capture movement without the need for controllers. Such cameras will create large amounts of data, and chips such as the VR7050 and VR7100 need to be able to capture and analyze all that data in a fraction of a second to transmit it back to users. The VR7050 reportedly delivers, "for the first time ever," the necessary performance needed for this type of application.

Companies interested in using the new gesture recognition chip can place it in USB, Ethernet, and SAS devices as well as many other consumer-style connectors. Spectra7 will offer samples of the VR7050 to interested parties in the fourth quarter of this year. Full shipments will begin in 2015.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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