China-based electronics manufacturer TCL Multimedia (TCL) will use Hillcrest Lab’s Freespace motion-control software for forthcoming TCL Android-based smart TVs, including the flagship V7500 Android 4.03 smart TV and motion-sensing remotes due later this year.
The companies said the TCL smart-TV system will be available in China this month before rolling out to other markets later this year.
TCL has acquired a worldwide license to Hillcrest’s Freespace in-air pointing and motion-control technology for current and future products, the companies said.
Hillcrest’s Freespace MotionEngine smart-TV software and Freespace Gesture Recognition Engine enables motion, gesture and cursor control to navigate an array of smart-TV menus and interactive controls.
This includes the web browser, games and various Android applications. The Freespace MotionEngine smart-TV software is said to provide precise motion data for mouse-like point-and-click functionality, and motion gaming applications.
The Freespace Gesture Recognition Engine allows using up to 50 simple gestures to execute various tasks, from twisting the remote to adjust volume to alpha-numeric in-air gestures to change channels, switch applications or function as passwords to login to individual user accounts.
“As China’s market leader in smart TVs and consumer electronics, we are proud to work with TCL and contribute to its line of Android-powered smart TVs,” stated Chad Lucien, Hillcrest Labs sales and marketing senior VP. “Together, we are providing more compelling options and a simpler user interface for smart-TV users. Our collaborative efforts are a concrete example that high-precision, inertial motion technology is the ideal choice for smart-TV user interface navigation, motion gaming, gesture control and more.”
According to a recent NPD Group/DisplaySearch report, TCL now has No. 1 overall TV market share in China (18.1 percent), up from No. 2 a year ago, TCL said.
Hillcrest said its MotionEngine software can be added to a wide range of devices, including smart TVs, Blu-ray and streaming media players, smartphones and tablets, game controllers and more.
The MotionEngine software interfaces with an array of MEMS sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetic sensors.
TCL Android TVs with the Freespace MotionEngine and Gesture Recognition Engine systems will offer simple navigation of smart-TV user interfaces — advanced motion processing — that translates natural hand movements into onscreen commands.
Users will not have to point the remote at the screen to control the cursor, and there are no “line of sight” requirements, TCL said. This allows the user to sit, stand, recline, lie down or move around the room while maintaining full control of the smart-TV user interface.
Hillcrest’s Freespace MotionEngine is also embedded in the new line of Roku 2 streaming-media players and LG’s smart TVs.
Other licensees of the technology have included Eastman Kodak, Logitech, SMK Electronics, Sony Computer Entertainment, Universal Electronics and others.