Qualcomm picks up gesture recognition tech for Snapdragon devices

GestureTek, a company which we first noticed three years ago for its Wii-like motion controller technology for smartphones, has sold some of its motion control and gesture recognition technology patents to chipmaker Qualcomm. This acquisition is a signal of the importance of inputs in mobile devices beyond the touchscreen.

Qualcomm will integrate GestureTek's technologies into its popular line of Snapdragon smartphone mobile processors, giving equipment manufacturers the option to enable their devices with natural user interfaces.

Snapdragon currently powers such notable smartphones as the Android-powered Sony Ericsson Xperia Play (the first "PlayStation Phone"), HTC Thunderbolt (the first major LTE phone in the U.S.) and EVO 3D, The WebOS-powered HP TouchPad, Pre3, and Veer, and the Windows Phone 7-powered Samsung Focus and HTC HD7.

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Qualcomm did not announce which technologies it had acquired, but some of GestureTek's noteworthy patents in the mobile space include #5,534,917 (Video camera-as-controller), #7,058,204 (Multiple camera control system), #7,227,526 (3D-vision image control system), #7,379,563 (system for tracking two hands at once in free space) and #7,379,566 (Optical flow-based tilt sensor).

Qualcomm, meanwhile, filed 32 new patents with the US Patent and Trademark office on July 19, most of which concentrate on wireless and mobile technologies. The only patent among these to concentrate exclusively on user interface is #7,984,382, for a less resource intensive UI event/action processing system for touchscreen devices, so it appears the property it has acquired from GestureTek has not yet been posted in the patent office.

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