One major problem with wearable Health Tech devices is that they tend to be small. This is good, because it helps them “disappear” into the background of our daily lives. On the other hand, it makes it difficult for design engineers to come up with a useful, intuitive user interface. Displays are small so there’s little room for touch control, and more than a few buttons or keys just won’t fit. Speech recognition is an option, though it can require a lot of processing power and storage; besides, there are some settings where a speech recognition approach would not be desirable.
Gesture-based interfaces have potential, but they are often based on infrared cameras and illumination (think Microsoft Kinect) and can be limited in resolution and response time. Elliptic Labs has come up with a different approach. Using ultrasound emitters and sensors, the system is able to detect motions up to about 7 feet away (2 meters). It recognizes fast movements with fine resolution, making it suitable for a variety of applications.
The company is positioning this “Ultra-Fast Ultra-Far” technology for consumer use, such as playing games on mobile devices or triggering selfie photos from a distance. This technology could be helpful for wearable Health Tech applications, providing a fast and detailed gesture detection system to control small devices.