CES: Encoding Environmental Intelligence with New Chip Tech

The design of truly contextual experiences — whether for utility or entertainment — requires a knowledge of both the user and the environment they are in. This becomes especially relevant when we think of what it means to build interesting mixed reality experiences. CES this year showcased a variety of computer vision AI software tools oriented towards understanding environmental context. At Eureka Park in the Venetian, however, MantiSpectra’s chip sensor technology provided a peek into the benefits for user experience enabled by environmental intelligence arising from hardware.

MantiSpectra’s 1mm x 1mm x 0.1mm chip uses short wave infrared radiation to detect light difference at a sensitivity of 1 picowatt. At a captured spectrum range of 850-1700 nanometers, this isn’t analysis of visual information as seen by the human eye (like color) but information about the molecular composition of the things it “sees.”

This spectrum targets the “fingerprint region,” so-dubbed because each organic compound has its own uniquely complex absorption pattern for light at this range. The sensor does both Qualification and Quantification, or “what’s in it and how much of it,” according to Lars Benesch, MantiSpectra’s business development director.

The data is small in size, at 200 bytes, enabling quick analysis that can be done in real time in the pipe, with “no sampling involved.”

This degree of fidelity becomes interesting when considered as a tool to better contextualize experiences for users. MantiSpectra talks about the technology’s use cases when synced with smart devices: the chip’s determination of the exact protein composition of a dough can inform the baking temperature a smart oven sets, or the analysis of fiber percentages in a piece of clothing can inform the detergent blend used by a smart washer.

Looking further, it is possible to consider the use of technology like MantiSpectra’s alongside computer vision recognition tools to support both a responsive log of user attention, and a cumulative archive of user experience.

MantiSpectra is a spin-off of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands.

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