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Boréas Piezo Haptic Engine Brings HD Haptics in Tiny Footprint to Fitness Trackers, Smartwatches

Boréas leverages piezoelectric chip platform to advance touch experiences in wearables

BROMONT, Québec—April 27, 2021 — Boréas Technologies today unveiled the Boréas Piezo Haptic Engine (Boréas PHE), the first module to harness the high performance of piezo actuators to solve wearable devices’ most significant challenge—achieving true high-definition (HD) haptic feedback in a broad range of low-power space-constrained devices.

The Boréas PHE is a major advancement over the two legacy technologies that have dominated haptics in wearables and other small devices: linear resonant actuators (LRAs) and eccentric rotating mass (ERM) motors, in which the quality of haptic performance is tied directly to the LRA’s or ERM’s volume and mass. This architectural approach makes these platforms too large to achieve a satisfying user experience in wearables. In contrast, the Boréas PHE uses a small off-the-shelf piezo actuator and the mass of other internal components to generate exceptional haptic performance, eliminating the size-power-performance trade-off typical of LRAs and ERMs.

“The quality of haptic effects in smartwatches and fitness bands is vital to the user experience. This makes choosing a high-quality haptic engine essential to customer satisfaction,” said Simon Chaput, founder and CEO, Boréas Technologies. “But the dominant actuators generally used in wearables, LRAs and ERMs, generate inferior haptic effects at the small size needed for wearables, making your device feel cheap.

“Piezo actuators, on the other hand, don’t have this problem. Used with our Boréas PHE, they produce stronger, more realistic, and more responsive haptic experiences that are sure to delight users with the premium feel that they’ve come to expect. Plus, their small size and ultra-low power consumption tick all the boxes for devices in which every millimeter and microamp are critical.”

Outperforming LRAs in Wearables

The advantages of the BPHE over the LRA—the haptic technology most commonly used in wearables—is measurable.

  • Larger Bandwidth—the BPHE creates stronger haptic effects within a larger bandwidth, from frequencies between 30-300 Hz, while small LRAs offer a narrow bandwidth at high frequencies (>200 Hz)
  • Faster Rise and Fall Times—with rise times of 2.25 cycles vs. LRA’s 11 cycles, and fall times <10 ms vs. LRA’s 80 ms, the Boréas PHE’s faster response times enable sharper, more realistic haptic effects in wearables
  • Low Power Consumption—the Boréas PHE is up to 10x more power-efficient than LRAs, extending battery lifetime
  • Small Footprint—with a 12x4x1.8mm piezo actuator, the BPHE is small enough for volume-constrained devices

For More Information

The Boréas PHE integrates Boréas’ BOS1901CW, its low-power piezo haptic driver chip, with third-party piezo actuators from leading companies. Try out the Boréas PHE in Boréas’ Fitness Tracker Reference Design or email info@boreas.ca

About Boréas Technologies

Boréas Technologies Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company commercializing product-differentiating piezo IC platforms in consumer and industrial markets. With origins in research conducted at Harvard University, Boréas was founded in 2016 in Bromont, Québec. Its proprietary CapDrive™ technology platform—on which the company’s ICs are based—is ideal for resource-constrained devices such as smartwatches, fitness trackers, smartphones, game controllers, and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Stay in touch with Boréas on LinkedInYouTube or visit us online: https://www.boreas.ca

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