Asustek, ITRI team up to develop motion control

FIRST IN::The PC company said it was aiming to sell its system in China, where similar items such as Microsoft’s Kinect aren’t available due to a ban on game consoles

Staff Writer, with CNA

Wed, Sep 07, 2011 - Page 11

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), the world’s No. 6 PC brand, yesterday announced a strategic alliance for motion-control systems with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院), hoping to attract more participation from the industrial sector.

A motion-control system is a detecting solution, such as a 3D camera, that can relay the gestures or movements of a person to control virtual images on a screen.

Asustek will work with the state-funded institute to build the alliance into an avenue for exchanges among application developers in the medical, education and gaming fields.

“Motion control is a simple, convenient and user-friendly interface. Through this alliance, we hope to establish an industry standard and share resources and technologies,” Asustek vice chairman Jonathan Tsang (曾鏘聲) said at the launch of the alliance.

In January, at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Asustek teamed up with Israel-based PrimeSense, whose chips form the backbone of Microsoft Corp’s Kinect game console motion-control system, to introduce its PC-exclusive WAVI Xtion system.

In February, the company also released the software development kit Xtion Pro so developers could build applications that used the sensor technology.

“We plan to sell 100,000 WAVI Xtion units in the first wave beginning at the end of October, with most of them sold through retail channels with the rest for developers,” said Kent Chien (簡孝堅), general manager of the multimedia business unit at Asustek.

“We will focus on the PC market in China in the first stage, as rivals like Microsoft have not released their game consoles there yet,” he said.

Since 2000, China has banned the sale of video game consoles and accessories because of fears that children might spend too much time in virtual environments.

Microsoft, Sony Corp and Nintendo Co are all very interested in entering the Chinese market, as the middle class grows and more disposable income is spent on entertainment.

In related news, ITRI was recognized as an Excellent Organization at the Solar Industry Awards (SIA) for developing a high-efficiency photovoltaic (PV) panel antenna integration technology, making it the first Asian country to receive the title, ITRI said yesterday.

The SIA, among the world’s most prestigious awards in the solar energy industry, was established in 2009 by Angel Business Communication Ltd, a publisher of trade magazines in the UK.

David Ridsdale, the chief editor of the company, and a panel of experts from the PV industry have selected ITRI from 2,000 entries as the organization that made the most creative and influential product.

ITRI’s novel antenna uses a panel of PV cells as a metamaterial FSS radome for dual-band operation. A 10 Watt, 72-cell unmodified commercial PV panel is applied as a transparent layer in the first operation band and as a semi-transparent layer in the second operation band to achieve high antenna gain.

The combination of PV cell and antenna with the characteristic of simple construction is suitable for outdoor wireless communication devices such as mobile phones, medium or large access points and portable navigation devices, ITRI said.