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Automakers began to offer gesture control systems in vehicles just a few years ago. To date, applications have been mostly limited to luxury models such as the BMW 7 Series.

But that soon may change.

Maxim Integrated Products, a San Jose, Calif.-based signal processing specialist, says it has developed a new sensor technology that is significantly smaller and as much as one-tenth the cost of current hand-gesture systems.

How It Works

Maxim’s MAX25205 system uses integrated optics and infrared sensors in place of the time-of-flight (ToF) cameras used in most gesture control systems.

Maxim gesture control system (Image: Maxim Integrated Products)

Coupled with an LED driver and internal low-dropout regulator, the array of 60 photo diodes is about one-fourth the size of a ToF-based unit, according to the supplier. The design also enables the use of a single (4-mm2) microcontroller in place of multiple units and a sophisticated microprocessor.

Maxim claims the integrated MAX25205 unit enables improved performance and less maintenance. The system recognizes nine different types of hand movements—including swipes, rotations, pinches and proximity sensing—with less lag time, the company says.

Formed in 1983, Maxim had 2019 sales of $2.3 billion. The company develops analog and mixed-signal products.