You can use advanced methods to implement gesture control using devices like Leap Motion, or a camera with a computer vision program like OpenCV, but if you have cost and size constraints, and can work with a limited number of gestures, Broadcom APDS-9500 proximity & gesture sensor might be a useful component as it comes in a 18-pin package, and supports up to 9 gestures. The chip also provides proximity detection for sensing objects approaching or departing.
Avago / Broadcom APDS-9500 key features:
- Gesture output – 9 gesture recognition: g move up, move down, move left, move right, move forward, move backward, circle-clockwise, circle-counterclockwise and wave
- Proximity output – Object brightness output and size output
- Cursor mode output – X and Y output
- Range – up to 60 cm
- Image output – SPI output; 30 × 30 pixels / 60 × 60 pixels; 9-bit gray scale
- Ambient light immunity
- I2C-bus interface compatible with data rates up to 400 kHz
- Dedicated Interrupt pin
- Flexible power saving mode
- VDD range from 2.8V to 3.3V
- I/O voltage range from 1.8V to 3.3V
- Package – 6.87 × 3.76 × 2.86 mm (L × W × H)
The I2C interface and interrupt pin are used to transfer gesture & proximity data, while the SPI interface is used for image output.
Typical applications for the chip include gesture detection, cell phone touch-screen disable, mechanical switch replacement, and frontal face tracking.
The chips sells for $6.55 in single quantity and as low as $3.25 per unit for 2,500 pieces orders according to Digikey. More details can be found on the product page.
Update: Sparkfun also have a breakout board for APDS-9960, an older model, that sells for $14.95. You’ll also find many cheaper boards ($2.5 and up) on Aliexpress with APDS-9960, but nothing with the new APDS-9500 chip featured in this article yet.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.