After revolutionizing the mobile devices user interface industry with its advanced ultrasound technology, Elliptic Labs is now focusing on revolutionizing the optical proximity sensors found in smartphones. Pick up your smartphone and notice the one or two black dots around the selfie camera; Elliptic Labs has discovered a way to eliminate these tiny yet irritable spots on our beautiful and expensive handheld devices.
The dots on your smartphone are proximity sensors, which can detect numerous things including when you hold the device against your face to make a phone call. The sensor senses that and instructs the processor to dim the screen’s light so that your cheek doesn’t press any buttons on the touch screen display unintentionally. This hardware-based feature has existed in smartphones since the start, and now Elliptic Lab envisions replacing it with the first software-based optical proximity solution, BEAUTY.
So, what’s the difference between traditional optical sensors and the ultrasonic sensor? The latter doesn’t take extra space on your front screen in forms of black ugly dots. Ultrasonic technology can be installed in to the speaker’s audio components and thus doesn’t require an additional sensor to the device’s body. Better yet, it is supposed to be more efficient than predecessor.
Elliptic Labs has invented a way to make a smartphone’s built-in earpiece and/or microphone work as ultrasonic proximity sensors. The firm is working with OEMs to integrate its BEAUTY proximity software into the ultrasonic components of devices cost-effectively to offer enhanced performance.
Chief Executive, Laila Danielsen, said, “We are disrupting this market with a superior software solution. Our BEAUTY ultrasonic software-only solution replaces and outperforms optical hardware sensors, beautifying mobile design, reducing cost and freeing up physical space inside mobile device. We will see our BEAUTY solution incorporated into phones in 2016.”
If you’re wondering why you didn’t find a black tiny dot on your iPhone, other than the camera, it is because Apple paints over the optical proximity sensor with a microperforated coating. Since it holds intellectual property rights on the technique, rival manufacturers have refrained from copying it. Android-powered smartphones stand to benefit the most, especially Samsung's flagship products.
Replacing optical proximity sensors with ultrasonic ones has more than just aesthetic benefits. The new technology can save space in the device, in turn saving cost for manufacturers, while being more reliable than its predecessor. However, all this depends on who courts Elliptic Labs to include this technology in its smartphones. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) for instance, will take a lot of persuasion to rely on another company for software, because it really doesn’t need it. However, the technology looks like the perfect option for Samsung to produce phones that can actually compete with the iPhone.