Multiple 3D Sensors Supported on Windows 8

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Windows 8 is targeting on a table market. So making the sensors work beautifully is one of the mission Microsoft has to accomplish on windows 8 in order to gain the market. Actually, Windows 8 needs to achieve beyond the average to be success. Here are the sensor designing in Windows 8 detailed on Building Windows 8.

First, an ambient light sensor (ALS) is a must-have to automatically adapt the brightness on the display.

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Then, how can a Windows 8 tablet success without an accelerometer that automatically rotates  the screen based on how you hold it?

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Since we are into the 3-D era, building a sensor system that supports 3-D is going to make the device and app look awesome. For example, to support a compass, it would require minimum a 3D accelerometer and a 3D magnetometer to build a 6-axis motion and orientation system. With a new type of sensor, Gyro, recently emerging building a very immersive 3D games becomes very possible.

However, each sensor has its own weakness. The accelerometer sensor was not providing clean data, and could not be used alone to determine device orientation. The magnetometer was slow to update and was susceptible to electromagnetic interference (think of a compass needle that sticks in one position occasionally). And gyros could only determine rotational speed.

And that’s how the idea of “Sensor Fusion” was born. Basically, a sensor fusion system uses a 3D accelerometer, a 3D magnetometer, and a 3D gyro to create a combined “9-axis sensor fusion” system.

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By integrating a sensor fusion solution, Windows 8 provides a complete solution for the full range of applications. Sensor fusion in Windows solves the problems of jittery movement and jerky transitions, reduces data integrity issues, and provides data that allows a seamless representation of full device motion in 3D space (without any awkward transitions).

A sensor fusion solution is the winning key here for Windows 8.

For developers, here is also Sensor API released as part of the new WinRT, Windows Runtime for Metro Apps. What’s interesting is that these capabilities are all available as Win32 APIs for desktop applications and games. However, to fully developer an app that supports sensor fusion, you need a sensor board that supports 9-axis.

You can check out the video below and see how it works in action.

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