Electronics & Computers

ADI ADCs Enable Eyes-Only Control Technology

November 4, 2010

National Instruments used the data converters and amplifiers in a breakthrough system design that allows players to control video games with their eyes.

NORWOOD, MA /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- Analog Devices (ADI), the "worldwide data converter market share leader," announced that National Instruments (NI), a leading global supplier of hardware and software for engineers, used ADI's data converters in a breakthrough user interface technology that allows users to control a system by merely moving their eyes. In a departure from traditional gaming systems that use hand, wrist, and body movements to play video games, Waterloo Labs, a team of engineers at National Instruments that creates experimental projects using NI products, designed a "first-of-its kind video game." This hands-free, eyes-only video game prototype leverages a technology called electro-oculography that records eye motion (see video). ADI' ADCs (analog-to-digital converters) play a critical role in the system by converting eye motion into a series of digital commands that move the on-screen character through the game. The potential applications for this technology go beyond the gaming world to include treatment for amblyopia (or "lazy eye") and a number of other uses for people who have lost the use of their hands or have other disabilities.

"In its current state, this application is a sophisticated next-generation video gaming system, but we foresee a number of other exciting and valuable uses for this technology. We are in the early stages of exploring some of these applications," said Hunter Smith, Waterloo Labs team member and applications engineer at National Instruments. "A key component of this hands-free, eyes-only video gaming system is ADI's high-speed ADCs. We plan to continue using ADI's data converters to help us push design boundaries to develop new applications and products."

How Ocular Game Control Works The hands-free video gaming system uses ADI's AD7401 isolated ADC and a National Instruments Single-Board RIO daughter card that features a real-time processor, reconfigurable field-programmable gate array, and analog and digital I/O on a single board, programmed with NI LabVIEW software. Eye movement is measured by placing four electrodes around the player's eyes and a final reference electrode at the base of the ear. The electrodes then measure the very small electrical signals generated inside the eye when a player shifts his eyes up, down, or side to side in correspondence with the movement of the on-screen game character. Next, a differential signal between the electrodes is amplified by ADI's AD8221 precision instrumentation amplifier and low-noise amplifier before passing through the ADI ADC and on to the daughter card for processing. For an explanation of the signal chain, (see video).

"This first-of-its kind hands-free, eyes-only video gaming system is another example of how ADI's signal processing technology continues to revolutionize conventional end-user experiences," said Steve Hinderliter, Converter Marketing Director, Analog Devices. "ADI's data conversion and signal conditioning technology continues to define the user experience by regulating the quality and speed of the information from the sensor and signal source all the way to the digital world and back."

About ADI
Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices has built one of the longest standing, highest growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industrywide as a world leader in data-conversion and signal-conditioning technologies, Analog Devices serves over 60,000 customers, representing virtually all types of electronic equipment. Celebrating over 40 years as a leading global manufacturer of high-performance integrated circuits, used in analog and digital signal processing applications, Analog Devices is headquartered in Norwood, MA, with design and manufacturing facilities throughout the world.

About NI
National Instruments is transforming the way engineers and scientists design, prototype, and deploy systems for measurement, automation, and embedded applications. NI empowers customers with off-the-shelf software, such as NI LabVIEW and modular cost-effective hardware, and sells to a broad base of more than 30,000 different companies worldwide, with no one customer representing more than 3% of revenue and no one industry representing more than 15% of revenue. Headquartered in Austin, TX, NI has more than 5000 employees and direct operations in more than 40 countries. For the past 11 years, Fortune magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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