As consumers, homeowners, employees and just regular people, there are so many devices and technologies we use throughout our day. They aren’t just a nice perk, though. We now depend on these devices in all aspects of our everyday lives to enable efficiency and accomplish regular tasks.
Smartphones may be the most prominent example, but they aren’t the only devices. Sensor fusion is at the heart of providing convenience for consumers across many different industries, including business, consumer electronics, health & wellness and so many more. The technology powers applications ranging from robotics and IoT devices to motion controllers and smart TVs.
Smart home technology, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, helps keep our daily lives organized. They can do things like put together to-do lists, send us reminders, let us in the house when we approach, or turn the lights off when we leave. Robotic vacuum cleaners let us keep floors and carpets clean by barely lifting a finger. Motion controllers help us lower the volume or flick between movie titles on our TV screens with simple hand gestures.
The one thing these technologies all have in common? They add convenience to our daily routine, so we don’t have to spend our own energy to get it all done.
Convenience is a huge driver of demand for devices like smartphones, TVs and other electronics. Consumers have grown used to having things like AI, context awareness and unfettered access to pretty much everything on the Internet at their fingertips 24/7. Technology that can enable more of this convenience will have a competitive edge.
Motion sensors are a major piece in creating this. With accurate tracking and real-time sensor fusion, devices across different industries can analyze intelligently to deliver results or perform certain tasks.
All of the devices we mentioned at the top of this post fuse data from multiple sources, including motion sensors, and run it all through algorithms to perform tasks, give needed context and anticipate what to do next.
But users also need to trust that all of that data is being captured accurately. Is their smart watch really counting their steps with precision? Is their smartphone leading them in the right direction? Is your robot missing the same spot on the floor?
Sometimes even small sensor errors are enough to completely throw off user experience because they can build over time, creating some noticeable results. This marathon runner in Boston handled a discrepancy between her two tracking devices by running 2 extra miles to be sure she got to 26.2. I know I’m not alone in saying I certainly don’t ever want to run two more miles than needed for any reason!
So How Does Motion Tracking Enable Convenience?
Here’s a rundown of different ways that devices and applications use motion sensors to empower a smarter, more convenient experience:
- Wearables: In wearables, the biggest thing is activity classifying and accurately counting steps for the user. This data can help give context for other purposes as well (such as monitoring and achieving daily fitness goals).
- Hearables: In hearables specifically, motion sensors and sensor fusion help determine if they’re in your ear, so the device knows when to automatically pause the audio. They can enable other unique gestures and track your daily activity.
- Medical: Accuracy in dynamic motion is needed in these devices to detect falls, or properly evaluate the risk or presence of potential diseases.
- Robotics: Accurate motion sensors help plan cleaning routes and map the robot’s environment so that it can navigate without getting stuck.
- IoT: GPS and WiFi data help determine a device’s location, and fuses with sensor data to track activities as well.
- Motion controllers: From gaming controllers and business presentations, to styluses and any other application that features direct interface with the material, accurate motion sensing can enhance the experience with gestures and cursor control..
- Smart TVs: Motion tracking enables an on-screen cursor to speed up menu selection, title browsing and typing with your biggest screen.
- Smartphones: Accurate tracking allows users to get the most out of augmented reality apps and motion based games. It also helps determine direction when you’re indoors, where it isn’t realistic to rely on consistent GPS.
- Mobile computing: Sensors allow computers to flip screen orientation responsively in 2-in-1 laptops and touchscreen tablets. They can also be used to geofence the device if the user is not detected.
Convenience is a highly coveted feature in today’s devices, and motion sensing is important to enabling it. Users expect their devices to work as intended, without bugs or delay. Designers need to trust that their devices are capturing and classifying data accurately. And that’s exactly what motion sensors and sensor fusion enable.
Contact my team at CEVA-Hillcrest Labs with questions about motion tracking and sensor fusion to learn more about how you can create convenience!
Published on Embedded.com
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