Making Touch-less Operation a Reality with Reasonably Priced Micro Gesture Sensors / A-Sum Technology, LLC

Thinking About the Digital Transformation of SMEs During and Post COVID-19 Era

A-Sum Technology LLC (Osaka City), accelerates IoT technology and provides system solutions for all layers of IoT devices, artificial intelligence, and web services based on wireless technology.

The company develops Gesture Sensor modules that enable touch-less operation of devices, offering useful solutions that help SMEs achieve DX (digital transformation) suited for the era of new lifestyles.

Promoting the IoT with Wireless Communication Software

Centered around CEO Yasufumi Ishio, who has a wealth of experience in the communications and wireless fields, A-Sum Technology is a five-person company that began in 2016.

"Wireless connects people-invisibly, and the interest I felt in that was why I chose this path. I always felt that especially because it can't be seen, if we can successfully develop it into a service, we can do something really valuable. That was my mission in starting this company." Mr. Ishio said.

(Left picture) The Micro Gesture Sensor developed by the company. You can see that it is smaller than a fingertip.
(Right picture) CEO of A-Sum Technology, Yasufumi Ishio. He is holding the company's Micro Gesture Sensor in his hand.

For the most part, they have made the following their four main pillars (1) IoT-related development through wireless software technology, (2) module-related work like developing and loading unique software onto wireless modules, (3) Gesture Sensor touch-less input devices that they will AI technology into in the future, and (4) sensor visualization systems that offer cheaper development of application software appropriate for the sensors. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, the Gesture Sensors have suddenly been getting all of the limelight.

The Micro Gesture Sensor Operable Without Touch

Co-developed with Duse Technologies, the Gesture Sensor can detect the movements of a hand. Since the device can be operated without physical contact, it is used to operate equipment in places that require a sanitary environment, such as the medical field, nursing, food production, kitchens, etc.

"My senior colleagues at my previous company thought about this solution for a long time, but it was in making it micro-sized that our company's technology came alive. In the summer of 2019, we released this 16 mm x 12.5 mm micro module. It can get by without consuming much energy, and we're able to offer it at a reasonable price."

Gesture Sensor's movement evaluation scene.

Through the changes in the reflection of infrared light (IR), this sensor can recognize the hand movements for up, right, down, left, spin right, spin left, and click (farther to closer). Also, dividing the area in front of the sensor into 9 areas, there is a tracking mode that can discern where the hand is, and it can be used when having a device follow the location of the hand, or when choosing from a menu.

Hand movements, from left to right: up, right, down, left, spin right, spin left, click.

"There are other sensors that use a camera to read hand movements, but they're always large. We were very thorough in sticking to the micro size, so that we didn't limit the places or situations it can be used."

There is a model of the Gesture Sensor with a BLE*1 loaded into the case, and it can send its recognition results remotely via wireless. It is also possible to connect with wiring through UART*2 and USB (recognized as a keyboard).

They are also in the process of developing a next-generation gesture sensor that has implemented AI technology to be able to recognize numbers, etc. traced by a hand in the area in front of the sensor.

In this COVID-19 era, there has been a huge increase in demand for touch-less operation to prevent the spread of infections. Mr. Ishio is expecting that there are still many more areas where this reasonably-priced Micro Gesture Sensor can contribute to the digital transformations of SMEs.

*1 BLE(Bluetooth Low Energy)
Part of Bluetooth (wireless LAN technology), low energy consumption communication mode that was added from version 4.0 onward.

*2 UART(Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter)
A part that switches between asynchronous serial transmission signals and parallel transmission signals (integrated circuit), or a general term for a part that sends asynchronous transmissions.

A Wireless Sensor Kit for Easy IoT Prototype Development

The philosophy of small and reasonably-priced is used in some of A-Sum Technology's other IoT solutions as well. One of them is the Bluetooth Mesh Wireless Sensor Kit that allows easy prototyping of an IoT system.

(From left)Pattern Antenna, Main Controller, Initialize Button (re-pairing), Temperature Humidity Sensor, IR Reflection Sensor, Illuminance Sensor
Bluetooth Mesh Wireless Sensor Kit. 45 mm x 33 mm in size.

Standardized in 2017, Bluetooth Mesh is a function that can create a mesh network*3 with Bluetooth. Since it can be created with just the right software and the same BLE hardware, the mesh network can be built at a low cost.

"Up to this point, we had been working on building a wireless system for buildings with 920 MHz wireless. However, we thought a reasonably-priced Bluetooth Mesh would be more appropriate for wireless lighting control, etc., so we worked on applying it."

A-Sum Technology's Wireless Sensor Kit has a temperature-humidity sensor, an illuminance sensor, and an IR reflection sensor loaded standard, and it is a small 45 mm x 33 mm in size. You can connect this and have wireless control of the lighting in your office, warehouse, or the insides of any other buildings. Since it also has a connector that can be used with many outer sensors available on the market, this helps SMEs save time and cut costs when developing an IoT system prototype.

*3 Mesh Network
A transmission network in the form of a net (or mesh), created by having terminals with wireless transmission functions send reciprocal transmissions, regardless of access point.

Using Wireless to Develop Location Information Tags

A-Sum Technology is currently using wireless to develop location information tags. This was an idea that came from not knowing where a certain tool is on a large construction site.

"We began developing this because there are so many times when people don't know where that one tool is on a large construction site. By sticking this tag onto it, the web application on the manager's computer or smart phone can know which area it's in. We were able to keep this at a pretty low cost by not pinpointing the precise location, but by just telling them the general area."

Instead of simply selling these, they are looking into a subscription model for people on worksites who are not used to this kind of managerial work.

Using wireless technology to develop and offer a variety of reasonably priced, easy-to-use IoT solutions, A-Sum Technology is likely to play a big part in helping SMEs with their digital transformations.

FROM J-GoodTech

Seeing how thoroughly they emphasized small, reasonably priced product development, we are able to feel how eager A-Sum Technology is to contribute to the digital transformation of SMEs. The company had been developing and producing the Gesture Sensor before the COVID-19 pandemic and have seen a dramatic increase in inquiries during this era. As a company that creates a comfortable environment for working people with IoT solutions that cannot be seen, we feel confident that there are many industries in which A-Sum Technology can contribute to.

In the future, J-GoodTech will continue to highlight SMEs that have such technological capabilities and outstanding services and promote activities that will bring them to the attention of more companies.

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