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Intel invests in motion sensing: Looks to future interfaces

Intel Capital is investing in motion-sensing technologies that would enable a more natural way to interact with computers, particularly mobile devices.

Intel Capital has invested in a company that provides motion-sensing technology, hinting at possible future user interfaces for personal computing devices.

Grenoble, France-based Movea said this week that it has secured 6.5 million euros (about $7.9 million) in funding from Intel Capital.

"We look forward to...increasing our involvement in the MEMS and motion sensing space in general," said Erik Jorgensen, investment director for Intel Capital, in a statement. "We believe the role MEMS plays in technology, particularly on the mobile side, is going to continue to increase at a rapid pace."

MEMS, or Microelectromechanical systems (and sometimes referred to micromachines), are found, for example, in the iPhone 4/4s in the form of a gyroscope. In general, MEMS are embedded systems that integrate electronic and mechanical components at a nano scale.

Movea explains the application of MEMS in more detail in a document titled Use of MEMS Motion Sensors for Embedded Mobile Applications (PDF).

Intel, whose processors power most of the world's PCs, has been focusing on hand gestures as way to give commands to a device in order to go "beyond the keyboard and mouse," as an Intel engineer demonstrates in a video.

Movea MotionTools.
Movea MotionTools. Movea

Movea provides technology such as Gesture Builder, which it describes as adding "gesture-based navigation to user interfaces...turning everyday human gestures...into a rich control palette," for PCs, interactive games, and television.