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Infrared Control Freak
360 Degree - 3D Infrared Motion Sensor.jpeg
Infrared Control Freak (IRCF360) - Beta
Developer ROBOTmaker
Type Proximity sensor / Motion Sensor / Human interface device
Release date March 1, 2012; 4 years ago (2012-03-01)[1]
CPU Microchip PIC16F88 8 MHz internal oscillator, 200 nanosecond instruction execution, 35 single word instructions,CMOS Flash-based 8-bit microcontroller packs Microchip’s powerful PIC® architecture into an 18-pin package, , a capture/compare/PWM, an Addressable USART, (I²C™) bus, 10-bit Analog-to-Digital (A/D) converter and 2 Comparators.[2]
Memory 256 bytes of EEPROM data memory bytes
Power 0.5 W (model A)

Infrared Control Freak 360 (IRCF360) is a 360 degree proximity sensor and a motion sensing devices, developed by ROBOTmaker. The sensor is in BETA developers release as a low cost (software configurable) sensor for use within research, technical and hobby projects such as Maker Faire type projects, Microbotics, Kinetic art / art, crafts, engineering, UAV, Science, Technology and alternative music type of projects.

360 degree proximity sensing[edit]

The 360 degree sensor was originally designed as a short range micro robot proximity sensor and mainly intended for Swarm robotics, Ant robotics, Swarm intelligence, autonomous Qaudcopter, Drone, UAV, multi-robot simulations e.g. Jasmine Project[3] where 360 proximity sensing is required to avoid collision with other robots and for simple IR inter-robot communications. Other uses have since been identified. Stacked 360 degree sensors gives a spherical "bubble" of proximity sensing required for 3D space sensing, such as with Unmanned aerial vehicle.

To overcome certain limitation with Infra-red (IR) proximity sensing (e.g. detection of dark surfaces) the sensing module includes ambient light sensing and basic tactile sensing functionality during forward movement sensing/probing providing photovore and photophobe robot swarm behaviours and characteristics.

360 degree sensor / 3D Motion sensor / HID device[edit]

Certain features of the 360 sensor enabled it also to be used as an independent 3D motion sensor for use within other computer applications where non-tactile input is required (i.e. compared to a mouse, joystick, keyboard which require physical contact). It is connected to a PC via the USB port. The device can be configured as a joystick, keyboard, mouse or midi device, for example where on-line 3D gaming applications require and as an alternative Human interface device (HID) for people with disabilities - enabling a wider range of users to control and interact with a PC/MAC/Tablet/SmartPhone using a more natural user interface through finger and hand gestures. It can be used together with the Windows7 voice recognition or with other HID devices to switch functionality and thereby reducing non-value added mouse movements.

Some examples of use are:

  • Single or Multi Touch(-less) control
  • 3D HID device for computer gaming
  • 3D Multi-touch control
  • 3D graphics and CAD viewing
  • Gestural Control of Music e.g. ref Interactive Systems and Instrument Design in Music (ISIDM)
  • 360 sensor for Kinetic artists Kinetic art
  • 360 sensor for moving parts/arms
  • 360 degree positioning within medium bore pipes
  • Alternative input device for people with disabilities

A project named Sensorium Project was started aimed at broadening the Sensors audience beyond its typical robot sensor usage. To Demonstrate the sensor's functionality, opensource Java based Integrated Development Environments (IDE) are used, such as Arduino and Processing (programming language). The java programs / sketches have all been released to public domain for advanced developers to expand the functionality and write their own Java interface apps.

See also[edit]

Many other forms of 3D mice and motion sensors have been developed where a 'physical' interaction is required. The mice have also been known as bats,[4] flying mice, or wands,[5] these devices generally function through ultrasound and provide at least three degrees of freedom. Probably the best known example would be 3Dconnexion/Logitech's SpaceMouse from the early 1990s.

In the late 1990s Kantek introduced the 3D RingMouse. This wireless mouse was worn on a ring around a finger, which enabled the thumb to access three buttons. The mouse was tracked in three dimensions by a base station.[6] Despite a certain appeal, it was finally discontinued because it did not provide sufficient resolution.

A mouse-related controller called the SpaceBall[7] has a ball placed above the work surface that can easily be gripped. With spring-loaded centering, it sends both translational as well as angular displacements on all six axes, in both directions for each.

In November 2010 a German Company called Axsotic introduced a new concept of 3D mouse called 3D Spheric Mouse. This new concept of a true six degree-of-freedom input device uses a ball to rotate in 3 axes without any limitations.[8]

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) developments:

  • Small UAV coalition: The Small UAV Coalition [1] advocates for law and policy changes to permit the operation of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) beyond the line-of-sight, with varying degrees of autonomy, for commercial, consumer, recreational and philanthropic purposes. Members of the coalition, including leading consumer and technology companies such as Amazon Prime Air, DJI, Google[x], GoPro, Parrot, and 3DR, believe that U.S. leadership in the research, development, and production of unmanned aerial vehicles will benefit consumers in all walks of life.

Other touch-less type of motion sensors are:

  • Wii Remote: While primarily a motion-sensing device (that is, it can determine its orientation and direction of movement), Wii Remote can also detect its spatial position by comparing the distance and position of the lights from the IR emitter using its integrated IR camera (since the nunchuk accessory lacks a camera, it can only tell its current heading and orientation). The obvious drawback to this approach is that it can only produce spatial coordinates while its camera can see the sensor bar.
  • Kinect : Kinect is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game console and Windows PCs.
  • USB, USB interfacing
  • Arduino, popular open-source single-board microcontroller for learning to program microcontrollers


  1. ^ "Twitter". Aachen, Germany. date 2011.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "Microchip 16F88". 
  3. ^ Kornienko, Sergey (date 2005). "Swarm Robotics". Jasmine Project, Stuttgart University. Stuttgart, Germany.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Doug A. Bowman, Ernst Kruijff and Ivan Poupyrev (2005). 3D user interfaces. Addison-Wesley. p. 111. ISBN 9780201758672. 
  5. ^ Stephen F. Krar and Arthur Gill (2003). Exploring advanced manufacturing technologies. Industrial Press Inc. pp. 8–6–4. ISBN 9780831131500. 
  6. ^ "Retrieved 31 December 2006". Archived from the original on 24 December 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  7. ^ "Space Ball". Retrieved 2010-05-29. 
  8. ^ "axsotic". Retrieved 2011-02-09. 

External links[edit]

Official Websites
Technical Information
  • Embedded Controller
  • Processing (programming language) Java Sketches
  • Arduino - Arduino is an open-source single-board microcontroller designed to make the process of using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible.