News | September 3, 2007

Hillcrest Labs' Freespace Technology Debuted With Logitech MX Air Mouse

Rockville, MD - Hillcrest Labs recently announced that its patented Freespace motion-control technology is being debuted by Logitech, the world's leading manufacturer of computer mice. Logitech is using the technology in the new Logitech MX Air Rechargeable Cordless Air Mouse. Freespace technology was initially designed by Hillcrest Labs for use in advanced television remote controls such as Hillcrest Labs' award-winning Loop controller. It enables consumer-electronics manufacturers and service providers to embed advanced motion control capabilities into a wide range of devices and form factors.

Unlike conventional mice, people are not limited to using the MX Air mouse on a surface. Instead, the MX Air mouse works on the desk and in the air, enabling effortless navigation and control of digital media with just a flick of the wrist. The rechargeable MX Air mouse features gesture-based commands, a touch-sensitive scroll panel, a wireless range of up to 30 feet, and a sleek design.

"The MX Air mouse offers people a radically new way to interact with PC-based entertainment," said Erik Charlton, Logitech director of product marketing for performance and gaming mice. "With more and more people using their PCs to watch videos and listen to music, we wanted to create a product that would allow people to adjust the volume, change a song, or browse online videos without having to return to the desk. Hillcrest's Freespace technology enabled us to do that and we're pleased to be the first company to use Freespace technology in a commercial product."

"Logitech's MX Air Mouse enables people to lean back from the desk and get comfortable while navigating their favorite TV shows, music, online movies, photos, or any other application on their computers," said Dan Simpkins, CEO of Hillcrest Labs. "Industry insiders often refer to the TV as the ten-foot viewing experience and the PC as the three-foot experience, so perhaps this can be thought of as the six-foot experience. We are very proud that Logitech selected Freespace technology to play a major role in its new innovative product, giving people a natural, orientation-free way to browse, discover and interact with digital content at home."

While Hillcrest Labs offers a complete, pointer-based interactive media system for television, the company recognized that components of its system, such as Freespace, have valuable commercial viability on their own and began licensing Freespace last year. Freespace uses patented digital-signal processing that uses gravity and other inertial forces to detect its position in the air. The software translates motion instantaneously, and automatically adjusts for natural hand tremors. Unlike older technologies that are based solely on gyroscopes, Freespace-enabled pointing devices work regardless of directional orientation. Since users do not need to aim the device toward a screen, they are free to hold the device in whatever position feels most comfortable to them.

Hillcrest Labs' Freespace technology was recognized as part of the prestigious 2006 International CES Innovations Design and Engineering Award, presented by the Consumer Electronics Association. Hillcrest Labs also was presented the Editor's Choice award by Popular Mechanics at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show.

SOURCE: Hillcrest Laboratories