During Computex we tried to meet up with as many of the USB 3.0 host controller makers as we had a chance to do. Etron has proven to be a popular choice with several motherboard manufacturers and although its host controller is the largest of the ones available, Etron was also one of the first to support xHCI 1.0. Let's take a look at the company's next host controller as well as a couple of more unusual products that the company is working on

During Computex we tried to meet up with as many of the USB 3.0 host controller makers as we had a chance to do. Etron has proven to be a popular choice with several motherboard manufacturers and although its host controller is the largest of the ones available, Etron was also one of the first to support xHCI 1.0. Let's take a look at the company's next host controller as well as a couple of more unusual products that the company is working on.

First up we have Etron's yet un-named four-port USB 3.0 host controller which is currently taped out and working, but Etron is going to have to come up with either a die shrink or a different packaging for it, as the chip is too big. As with VLI's VL800, Etron's upcoming four-port solution is stuck at using a single lane worth of PCI Express bandwidth and as such each port has in theory half the bandwidth of a two port controller. That said, this would only be noticeable when using multiple SSDs or other similarly fast storage devices.

Etron is a memory IC manufacturer, but the company has been busy branching out into other market spaces and have been making USB webcam controllers for some time. However, at Computex the company was showing off where it's taking some of this knowhow by showing off a controller for 3D webcams. The eSP768 is a USB 2.0 webcam controller that supports 3D video capture in 720p or 1280×1024 at up to 30fps. For 3D to work, two camera sensors are needed, but Etron also pointed out that the eSP768 is also suitable for use in tablets where a front and rear camera could be controller, sans 3D.

Slightly more interesting is the eSP868 which is very similar, but it adds support for 3D motion recognition rather than 3D video capture. Think a simplified version of Microsoft's Kinect and you got it in one. The major advantage here is how small Etron's demo cameras were compared to Microsoft's Kinect unit, something that suggests that we might see these kind of solutions built into TV's in the future. Motion control is a growing market space outside of gaming and there are plenty of ideas cropping up all over thanks to no small part to Microsoft's Kinect. However, what Etron has come up with is a much more affordable solution that could see motion controllers take off big time.