Simply put, the PC is entirely useless without a keyboard and mouse. The same argument could also apply to a personal digital assistant, which lacks both elegant data input and navigation solutions. This is a problem OTM Technologies believes it can solve.
Based in Herzliya, Israel, OTM Technologies has created a technology that measures motion. They’ve developed a patented optical design, called optical translation measurement (OTM), that fits into a single 10-mm standard laser diode. Shaped like a miniature incense cone, the laser component, which the company believes will begin appearing in commercial products next year, is able to measure and capture motion continuously in three dimensions from all surfaces. That means measurement occurs not only at the contact point, but also above it. This subtle technological point makes the technology ideal for capturing the quick and constant motion of handwriting.
The Class 1 laser component (which is eye-safe) works by emitting a light similar to a DVD player’s laser. Yet rather than remaining still, as in a DVD player, OTM’s design allows for motion to be measured and captured even as the laser is moving. This was accomplished by designing an encoder with a reference point found within the laser, thus allowing the sensor to measure any relative motion that moves across its optical aperture.
By using diffusive light reflected by a surface, the component is able to measure and capture motion from anywhere. This is called interferometry, a word that is derived from the words “interference,” which is the interaction of light waves, and “measure” — what is done with the reflective light. Although OTM’s accomplishment may sound trivial, it is not.