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Universal Electronics, Hillcrest Labs In Licensing Pact

Rockville, Md. — Universal Electronics (UEI) has inked a deal to license Hillcrest Labs’ Freespace pointing and motion technology for future remote controls.

The Freespace application allows pointing devices like remotes to control motion, such as scrolling and navigation, by hand movements in space, not unlike a Wii controller. According to a Hillcrest release, “Freespace-enabled devices use digital signal processing algorithms that rely on gravity and other inertial inputs to determine their position in the air. The algorithms translate motion instantaneously and automatically adjust for natural hand tremors.”

Unlike older gyroscope-based controllers, Freespace controllers work regardless of directional orientation. A user does not need to aim the device toward a screen or component, allowing them the freedom to hold the device in whatever position is most comfortable.

The technology made its commercial debut last summer in Logitech’s MX Air, a rechargeable cordless mouse designed to optimize the navigation and control of digital media stored on a PC.

UEI chairman and CEO Paul Arling commented: “As consumer demand for television entertainment and control continues to evolve, we are always seeking new ways to differentiate. We’re pleased to partner with Hillcrest to license Freespace technology and explore innovative ways to help users to more easily interact with their entertainment devices and content.”

UEI declined to provide further details on any future products using Freespace.