Headed by Jess Lee, an engineer who sold his previous business to Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Sentons revealed a sensor system that utilizes ultrasonic acoustic wave to spot touches, presses and swipes on a range of materials such as the metal edges around a mobile phone.
The technology is already being used by Taiwan’s Asus and its partner Tencent Holdings (0700. HK) in a phone created for gamers that was launched in China this summertime.
In the Asus phone, the sensing units allow gamers to sit tight horizontally and tap “Air Triggers” along its leading edge as virtual buttons with their index fingers while their thumbs tap the screen.
” Touch screens are excellent, however (phone makers) had not been able to find out how to add interactivity to the sides,” Lee informed Reuters in an interview.
” With the thinner and thinner form elements, perhaps even all glass or with cool metal edges that are really, actually thin, there’s no space for buttons.”
Lee, who offered an image sensor start-up called InVisage Technologies to Apple in 2017, decreased to recognize the two other smart device makers Sentons is dealing with.
The core of Sentons’ technology is a custom-made chip that sends out the acoustic wave and contains a processor and algorithms for understanding various gestures.
Sentons is likewise dealing with a virtual jog wheel which allows users to scroll through apps on phones that have actually ended up being too large to accept one hand. Another job is a virtual shutter button to focus a phone’s camera, comparable to the way a physical shutter button works on devoted digital electronic cameras, Lee said.
San Jose, California-based Sentons has about 50 workers and has raised $37.7 million in financing from New Business Associates and Northern Light Equity Capital.
Beyond smart devices, Lee said the business intends to add touch interactions to gadgets where screen area is either extremely restricted, such as the frames of smart glasses or the bands of smartwatches, or where there are no screens at all, like the steering wheels of vehicles.
In automobiles, “there are lots of luxurious materials – woods and leathers and metals,” he stated. “We can make all of that active.”