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Hillcrest 'Scoop' Pointer To Replace 'Loop'

Hillcrest Labs is phasing out its iconic "Loop" motion-sensitive remote control, offering consumer-electronics makers instead the smaller and lighter "Scoop" pointer as well as the option to license its software and sensor modules.

The Scoop in-air mouse with 6-axis motion control connects wirelessly to a PC, Mac or USB HID-compatible device. Hillcrest Labs said the reference design will be available early in the fourth quarter 2011.

The Scoop is smaller and has a lighter form factor than the Loop, according to Hillcrest, with a new chip set and firmware for lower costs and better performance, nine programmable buttons and a scroll wheel.

Hillcrest said it has already signed agreements with CE manufacturers that will bring the Scoop pointer to market later this year, under their own brand names.

Hillcrest does not intend to sell the Scoop pointer directly to consumers. The company never struck a deal with a third party to offer the Loop, but did sell the device directly to consumers for $99.

There are two versions of the Scoop pointer: one optimized for TV viewing and one with a red laser pointer designed as a handheld wireless presentation tool.

Meanwhile, Hillcrest is offering device makers the option to license the new Freespace MotionEngine software stack in conjunction with its family of sensor modules.

"Our new product portfolio gives our customers maximum flexibility to incorporate Freespace motion control into their products and accelerate their time to market," Hillcrest Labs founder and CEO Dan Simpkins said in a statement.

To date, companies that have licensed Hillcrest Labs' technology include Eastman Kodak, LG Electronics, Logitech, Roku, SMK, Sony Computer Entertainment and Universal Electronics (UEI).

The Freespace MotionEngine is the same software embedded in the new line of Roku 2 streaming media players and LG's Smart TVs, Hillcrest said.

In addition, Hillcrest is introducing a customizable version of Kylo, its Mozilla-based Web browser designed for big-screen TVs, designed for manufacturers of Mac or PC hardware platforms and accessories. The new version lets companies create custom home screens and features.

Rockville, Md.-based Hillcrest has more than 50 issued patents and more than 200 applications pending.