The ultrasonic sensor will resolve challenges related to mechanical design, including material thickness, the difficulty of integration, and the calibration period of development.
FREMONT, CA: Advances in technology have contributed to the comprehensive deployment of sensors through the use of touch sensing as an interface. The way we communicate with our devices with the change of switching to virtual buttons and surface movements is going through a huge shift. A startup has recently developed an ultrasonic sensing technology for touch user interfaces. The new technology will create a touch interface from almost any material of varying thickness, such as metal, wood, glass, ceramic, and plastic. It can cost-effectively turn any surface into a virtual click or gesture. In 2020, the technology will be embedded in several consumer and industrial devices. This allows OEMs to bring a pleasant user experience with a wide array of touch and gesture functions.
While technologies such as strain gauge, surface acoustic wave solutions, and force touch have extensive industrial and mechanical design constraints, including material thickness, the complexity of integration, and calibration time of production, the use of ultrasound can overcome the above-mentioned challenges. The technology would allow OEMs to remove mechanical buttons from smartphones; this, in effect, will encourage new industrial designs for 5 G phones of the next generation. Another potential application is the virtual buttons located in the center of the steering wheel and door panels with solid-state surfaces that are easy to clean in shared and ride-sharing vehicles.
The technology can address requirements regarding the smartphone, consumer / IoT, automotive, and industrial user interface. The sensors used are stored in tiny packages consuming only milliamps of current in an always-on mode designed to operate in a manner that does not rely on the host processor of a product containing all the algorithm processing embedded in the sensor.
It can also be used as a stand-alone power button, volume control, or shortcut keys for wake-on-touch sensing by using a simple tap to power the entire device. They can also use a series of holds, taps, and swipes to form multifunctional user interfaces. The sensors can also be interfaced directly with the power management and the haptic driver ICs.
Some Touchpoint sensors will include large drivers with higher operating voltages to transmit the ultrasound beam through the very thick solid metal in applications that do not need low power consumption.