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High-performance precision optical filters are an enabling technology for new gesture control technologies



The next generation of gesture control devices is coming soon to automobiles, computers, game consoles and televisions near you. This is definitely not your father’s video game.

The new gesture control technology will let users control computers, TV monitors and mobile devices with finger flicks and other 3D air gestures as shown in futuristic movies like Minority Report, Avatar and The Avengers.

A number of companies big and small showed off their new gesture control technologies at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show, and many tech analysts and writers named gesture control one of the top trends at CES. Forrester Research, Inc. analyst James McQuivey predicts the systems will be found everywhere, from hospitals to cars, and will soon impact most of our day-to-day activities. 

“These new systems are going to be many times more precise, more sensitive than what is in use today,” says Robert Naranjo, Vice President and Strategic Business Leader at Materion Barr Precision Optics & Thin Film Coatings. ”They will recognize touch-style gestures down to the resolution of a fingertip. And that precision is difficult to achieve. Our customers want the highest amount of light transmission possible while maintaining maximum suppression of ambient light. As these gesture control systems come to market in 2013 and 2014, many will contain precision filters from Materion.”

The specialized optical filters designed and produced by Materion are an essential component of gesture control systems, added Naranjo. He explained that the optical filters enable systems that code the people and scene in the room by sensing specific wavelengths of light. Image sensors read the coded light to correctly interpret the gestures.

As a fully integrated supplier of this product, Materion has developed both the materials and the manufacturing expertise to address these needs and enable this new technology. That specialized expertise in all facets of gesture recognition filters and sensors is based on decades of experience fabricating complex optical filter solutions.

Materion is leveraging its high-volume precision optics production capability and process controls to provide a technology solution that supports the ever-increasing demands of the gesture control marketplace, noted Naranjo. He adds, “Customers have been very impressed with the new facility in Shanghai that we acquired with EIS Optics. The EIS technology platform, coupled with the facility’s high-volume optics capabilities, strongly positions Materion to capitalize on exciting commercial applications in emerging and growing markets.”