Acquired Electronics360

MEMS and Sensors

Ultrasound Proximity Software Bids to Replace Hardware-Based Optical Sensor

09 February 2016

Elliptic Labs, developer of touchless gesture-recognition technology based on ultrasound, has now launched ultrasound-based proximity-detection software for smart phones. Named “BEAUTY,” the software-only solution eliminates the need for optical proximity sensors used in most smart phones.

Elliptic Labs' proximity software — named “BEAUTY” — performs ultrasonic proximity detection in mobile phones, replacing optical sensors and eliminating the unsightly holes in the phone's faceplate that optical sensors require.  Image source:   Elliptic LabsElliptic Labs' proximity software — named “BEAUTY” — performs ultrasonic proximity detection in mobile phones, replacing optical sensors and eliminating the unsightly holes in the phone's faceplate that optical sensors require. Image source: Elliptic Labs

Mobile phones need some form of proximity detection in order to disable touch functionality when a user holds the device to his/her ear during a call. Otherwise, the phone could mistake an accidental touch of the screen for a command or gesture. There's also no point in expending precious battery power on illuminating the display when the user can't see it.

But as important as proximity detection may be, the optical sensor that enables this key function requires one rectangular black shape or two large holes on the screen, which many product designers would prefer to avoid, for aesthetic reasons. With Elliptic Labs BEAUTY product, ultrasound software delivers the proximity functionality, re-using the existing earpiece and microphone previously used only for audio. The ultrasonic approach not only eliminates a hardware item (the optical sensor), but also dispenses with the holes, for a more — shall we say — beautiful design.

Noting that optical proximity sensors can be unreliable in certain weather conditions or in response to variations in hair and skin color, Elliptic Labs says its ultrasonic- and software-based approach has none of these limitations and delivers a greater detection range.

Elliptic Labs is working directly with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to help them integrate BEAUTY ultrasound proximity software into phones. The company expects phone makers to begin incorporating its BEAUTY solution into products this year.



Powered by CR4, the Engineering Community

Discussion – 0 comments

By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and Terms of Use.
Engineering Newsletter Signup
Get the Engineering360
Stay up to date on:
Features the top stories, latest news, charts, insights and more on the end-to-end electronics value chain.
Advertisement
Weekly Newsletter
Get news, research, and analysis
on the Electronics industry in your
inbox every week - for FREE
Sign up for our FREE eNewsletter
Advertisement

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Date Event Location
30 Nov-01 Dec 2017 Helsinki, Finland
23-27 Apr 2018 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
18-22 Jun 2018 Honolulu, Hawaii
Find Free Electronics Datasheets
Advertisement