International R&D hub Imec has developed a highly sensitive wearable radar system for gesture recognition, which could let you interact with mobile devices using hand gestures, or the ability to monitor patients remotely. Imec’s MIMO (Multiple Input/Multiple Output) radar-on-chip platform operates at 140GHz, meaning it can take advantage of millimeter-scale resolution, giving it the ability to measure small or micro-movements.
“This opens new opportunities, for example, enabling gesture recognition for intuitive man-machine interactions. Think about the AR/VR space, where the new radar can support intuitive interaction with virtual objects. Gesture recognition can potentially also enable intuitive device control — complementary to existing interfaces such as voice control or smart touch screens.” — Barend van Liempd, Imec R&D Manager
The MIMO chip detects motion by emitting a pulse of radiation and measuring the time it takes to be reflected back. Imec engineers incorporated machine learning technology based on a multi-layer neural network, which allows the radar to detect and classify micro-motions based on Doppler information, and can do so at a range of up to 10-meters, at a resolution of 15mm.
The MIMO chip was designed using a single transmitter with on-chip antennas and four receivers; however, Imec plans to upgrade their platform using four transmitters utilizing a new generation of radar chips currently in development. There are also looking at ways to expand the number of chips used to build a MIMO system with even larger arrays. Beyond gesturing, Imec states that their radar-on-chip technology could be used for medical applications, including in-car vital sign monitoring systems that monitor a driver’s state, including heart or epilepsy attacks.