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Ultrasound Could Replace Proximity Sensors In Phones

Article Comments  2  

Jan 29, 2016, 8:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Elliptic Labs recently launched new software that could negate the need to install proximity sensors in smartphones. The company proposes using ultrasound waves, generated by the phone's earpiece speaker and microphone, as a way to eliminate sensors. The ultrasound waves would be processed by Elliptic Labs' Beauty ultrasonic software, which is able to determine proximity based on changes in the waves when phone users' hands or face are near to the phone. Elliptic says Beauty is able to measure proximity at greater distances than physical sensors, and isn't confused by skin color or external temperatures, which can also impact physical sensors' reliability. The company further claims its technology can reduce the cost of smartphone hardware and manufacturing, free up internal space for other components, and allow for more cosmetically appealing designs. Elliptic Labs says it is working with phone makers to integrate Beauty into future handsets.

Engadget »




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Jan 30, 2016, 1:54 PM

This is neat.

My only question is whether or not smartphone speakers are currently capable of producing ultrasound waves (and whether the microphone is capable of picking them up). Like. How does it work? Normally specialized equipment is needed. Does this mean we can also start to do normal ultrasound scans using a phone?

As far as I'm aware, normal smartphone mics and speakers have limited frequency output and input (based on my own tests as an audiophile and musician), so... How does this work?
Current speaker/mics cant output or pickup ultrasound, so I'm betting they will use a dedicated sensor, like the light sensor, just better quality. Or more like the automatic Door opener at a supermarket, but that's microwave.

The problem I see wi...
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