industry news
Subscribe Now

STMicroelectronics Proximity Sensor Solves Smartphone Hang-ups

Geneva, February 25, 2013 — Smartphones are set to become even more flexible and more satisfying to use, thanks to a unique sensor system developed by STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications. Combining three optical elements in a single compact package, the VL6180 is the first member of ST’s FlightSense™ family and uses a new optical-sensing technology that reduces the incidence of dropped calls[1] and enables innovative new user interactions with smartphones.

The VL6180 uses a ground-breaking proximity measuring technology to offer unprecedented accuracy and reliability in calculating the distance between the smartphone and the user. Instead of estimating distance by measuring the amount of light reflected back from the object, which is significantly influenced by color and surface, the sensor precisely measures the time the light takes to travel to the nearest object and reflect back to the sensor. This “Time-of-Flight” approach ignores the amount of light reflected back and only considers the time for the light to make the return journey. 

“This marks the first time that Time-of-Flight technology has been made available in a form factor small enough to integrate into the most space-constrained smartphones,” said Arnaud Laflaquière, General Manager of ST’s Imaging Division. “This technology breakthrough brings a major performance enhancement over existing proximity sensors, solving the face hang-up issues of current smartphone and also enabling new innovative ways for users to interact with their devices.”

The key to ST’s patented new solution is an infra-red emitter that sends out light pulses, an ultra-fast light detector that picks up the reflected  pulses, and electronic circuitry that accurately measures the time difference between the emission of a pulse and the detection of its reflection.

Combining electronic, optical and packaging unique expertise from across the company, the VL6180 embeds both a robust ranging time-of-flight sensor and a wide dynamic ambient light sensor die, along with an infra-red emitter. Thanks to its all-in-one, ready- to-use architecture, the VL6180 is easy to integrate and saves the phone-makers long and costly optical and mechanical design optimizations.

Addressing dropped calls is not the only benefit that ST’s new technology brings to the smartphone market.  The ability to measure a reliable absolute distance from the phone to a hand or other object opens up new user interaction scenarios that phone manufacturers and app developers can rapidly exploit. At the World Mobile Congress (Barcelona, Feb 25-28, Hall 7, Booth E110), ST will demonstrate the proximity sensor performance and some innovative apps, underlining the Company’s commitment to Wireless and Imaging and the unique combination of strengths ST brings to the market.

About STMicroelectronics

ST is a global leader in the semiconductor market serving customers across the spectrum of sense and power and automotive products and embedded processing solutions. From energy management and savings to trust and data security, from healthcare and wellness to smart consumer devices, in the home, car and office, at work and at play, ST is found everywhere microelectronics make a positive and innovative contribution to people’s life. By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.

In 2012, the Company’s net revenues were $8.49 billion. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jul 1, 2022
We all look for 100% perfection and want to turn our dreams (expectations) into reality as far as we can. Are you also looking for a magic wand to turn expectation into reality? The story applies to... ...
Jun 30, 2022
Learn how AI-powered cameras and neural network image processing enable everything from smartphone portraits to machine vision and automotive safety features. The post How AI Helps Cameras See More Clearly appeared first on From Silicon To Software....
Jun 28, 2022
Watching this video caused me to wander off into the weeds looking at a weird and wonderful collection of wheeled implementations....

featured video

Synopsys PCIe 6.0 IP TX and RX Successful Interoperability with Keysight

Sponsored by Synopsys

This DesignCon 2022 video features Synopsys PHY IP for PCIe 6.0 showing wide open PAM-4 eyes, good jitter breakdown decomposition on the Keysight oscilloscope, excellent receiver performance, and simulation-to-silicon correlation.

Click here for more information

featured paper

Addressing high-voltage design challenges with reliable and affordable isolation tech

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Check out TI’s new white paper for an overview of galvanic isolation techniques, as well as how to improve isolated designs in electric vehicles, grid infrastructure, factory automation and motor drives.

Click to read more

featured chalk talk

Faster, More Predictable Path to Multi-Chiplet Design Closure

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

The challenges for 3D IC design are greater than standard chip design - but they are not insurmountable. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Vinay Patwardhan from Cadence Design Systems about the variety of challenges faced by 3D IC designers today and how Cadence’s integrated, high-capacity Integrity 3D IC Platform, with its 3D design planning and implementation cockpit, flow manager and co-design capabilities will not only help you with your next 3D IC design.

Click here for more information about Integrity 3D-IC Platform from Cadence Design Systems