A US company based in San Jose, is developing technology that enables machines a nd computers to see and react to objects in three

-dimensions and realtime. Canesta has just been granted a further three patents for its breakthrough electronic pe rception technology . Canesta's electronic perception technology was first applied in a 'projection ke yboard' that enables a smart phone, PDA, or other mobile device to project a ful l-size qwerty keyboard with rays of light onto an adjacent flat surface. The use r types on the projected keyboard as if it were physically there, and a Canesta chip built into the device translates the 3D finger movements into keystrokes. One of ethod. not as typed ard of the limitations of current tiny wireless devices is the user data input m Keyboards take up too much physical space and handwriting recognition is efficient. An integrated Canesta keyboard solves this problem by enabling data to be input into the portable electronic device with previously unhe speed and accuracy.

The technology is basically made up of two principal components. The first are 3 D electronic perception sensor chips, and the second is image processing softwar e. In a manner similar to radar, where the range to a remote object is calculate d through various methods, Canesta's chips develop 'distance maps' to points in the image of a nearby object, and hand this information to an on-chip processor running the imaging software. That software further refines the 3D representatio n of the image before sending it off chip for application-specific processing. T he chips do this repeatedly, generating over 50 frames of 3D information per sec ond. Since Canesta's software starts with a three-dimensional, 'contour-map' view of the world, provided directly by the hardware, it has a fundamental advantage ove r classical image processing software that struggles to construct three-dimensio nal representations using complex mathematics, and using images from multiple ca meras or points of view. This significant reduction in complexity makes it possi ble to embed the application-independent processing software directly into the c hips themselves so they may be used in the most modestly-priced, and even pocket -sized, electronic devices. Future applications of the electronic perception technology will be the security and automotive markets. Realtime contour maps generated will greatly simplify i ntruder detection and facial recognition. In the automotive arena, one of the ea rliest applications of electronic perception technology will be occupant sensing for advanced intelligent airbag deployment. In medical environments, a Canesta projection keyboard could be used in place of physical keyboards that rapidly collect biological contaminants and require con stant attention to maintain sterility, or replace touchscreens that require freq uent maintenance. In weight- or space-constrained military and aerospace environ ments, input devices could be projected into any convenient location, without we ight, and requiring no space when not in use. In retail, OEM, or POS application s, vandal-proof, customised keyboards are possible. In factories, hardware keyboards or other controls - even touchscreens quently problematic. The technology could enable 'touchless' screens, or re 'gestural input' schemes, where the operator's hand or finger motions e sensed and interpreted as actionable input. Such technology could also to assist disabled persons. are fre even pu would b be used