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Mobile Linux device stack gains motion detection

Oct 24, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Trolltech is extending its Qtopia embedded Linux development platform with iPhone-like motion control. Thanks to a partnership with motion-control software firm F-Origin, Qtopia developers will soon be able to trick out their mobile devices with interfaces that respond to landscape/portrait rotation, gestures, and gravity.

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F-Origin's Iris Motion Control technology appears to go beyond Apple's iPhone in harnessing accelerometers to create innovative touch interfaces. For example, says Trolltech, the Qtopia extensions for Iris allow applications to work with a virtual surface that is larger than the screen. Users can interact with a 3D perspective view of the surface, and control it by tilting the device and dragging a finger across the screen, said the company.

Iris comprises a set of APIs and libraries that can be integrated globally for the whole OS, or linked into specific applications. The API offers tools for detection and notification of motion events such as gestures or rotation, and is said to let users:

  • Develop motion-control interfaces
  • Map device movement to the virtual movement of 3D objects and virtual cameras
  • Perform real-time modeling of the device's precise orientation with respect to gravity or a chosen starting orientation
  • Zoom by moving the device closer
  • Pan across a large image by tilting the device sideways

Iris Motion Control integration architecture
(Click to enlarge)

According to F-Origin, Iris typically resides in 30-60KB of flash, and when running consumes 500KB of RAM and 1 MIPS (million instructions per second) of processor bandwidth. The key Iris components are Orientation and Mirror, which respectively translate accelerometer data into an internal model of the device's current orientation and reference plan, and then project the virtual display buffer onto the smaller physical display while managing projection and view changes.

Iris Motion Control software architecture
(Click to enlarge)

Trolltech's Qtopia is a major application development framework and application stack for Linux-powered devices and embedded systems. Stated Benoit Schillings, Trolltech CTO, “Our partnership with F-Origin will aim to efficiently deliver the next-generation of user interfaces.”


Trolltech did not reveal details about pricing or availability of the Iris extensions.

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