Ultrasound could replace proximity sensors in future phones, Report

After revolutionizing the user interface market for mobile devices with its unique ultrasound technology, innovator Elliptic Labs has turned its attention toward reinventing the optical proximity sensor for smartphones.

Beauty, as the ultrasonic software is called, allows for more aesthetically pleasing designs since it removes the need for optical proximity sensors, which themselves typically require one rectangular black shape or two small holes on the screen.

Enabling always-on gesture detection, the solution also frees up physical space inside mobile devices. “It works very similar to how bats use echolocation to navigate. The ultrasound signals are sent through the air from a smartphone’s current earpiece and bounce against one’s head and are recorded by the smartphone’s microphone. In this way, Elliptic Labs’ software engine converts the ultrasound signals into command actions and for the Beauty product case–to turn off/on the screen. Our Beauty product only requires one earpiece and one microphone currently available in all smartphones”, explained Elliptic Labs’ CEO, Laila Danielsen.

The company’s Beauty product maps its proximity readings to standard sensor service in Android, thus requiring no additional user interface. But detection range goes up to 2m, enabling high-resolution touchless gestures near, far, and all around the sides of a device screen at 180 degrees.

The software also comes with an extended library of gestures and application samples, including scrolling and multi-layered interaction.

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