Sentons, a startup led by chip industry veterans from Apple, Telegent Systems, and LSI Corporation, is launching their new SurfaceWave Processor and Gesture Engine.
The company says thet its ultrasonic, high fidelity touch platform lets manufacturers of smart devices, such as mobile phones and wearables, to create software-defined interactions beyond unchangeable physical buttons and touchscreens. The platform is bringing high-resolution touch and force sensing to various surfaces on any device. Combined with the company's in-processor Gesture Engine, Sentons is able to recognize, distinguish, and learn from a larger set of complex gestures than any touch technology previously available. Starting today, Sentons technology is available to any mobile manufacturer and can be integrated with nearly any form factor or surface material.
"The way we interact with smartphones, has not evolved since the introduction of the iPhone over a decade ago. Mobile devices, their users, and the imaginations of software and hardware developers, are locked into screens and physical buttons. Sentons brings a whole new level of interactivity to mobile devices, unlocking users, developers and manufacturers from these outdated confines," Sentons CEO Jess Lee explained. "Our use of ultrasonic technology gives our customers higher precision, greater flexibility and, most importantly, more freedom to extend interactivity to any surface in any shape. We believe Software Defined Surfaces will be the catalyst for a new innovation cycle in consumer electronics, and smartphones will lead the way."
The SurfaceWave Processor works with Sentons' Gesture Engine and Sensor Modules, which allow the precise identification of squeezes, light taps, swipes, slides, multiple touch points, and more - all at different speeds and a wide dynamic range of pressure levels. Asus and Tencent recently worked with Sentons on the ROG II, a gaming phone featuring "Air Triggers" - software-defined virtual buttons enabling the phone to be used similarly to a video game controller.
Lee, who sold an image sensor startup called InVisage Technologies to Apple in 2017, said that his company is also working with two other smartphone makers, without identifying them.
Sentons is also working on a virtual jog wheel which allows users to scroll through apps on phones that have become too large to hold with one hand. Another project is a virtual shutter button to focus a phone’s camera, similar to the way a physical shutter button works on dedicated digital cameras, Lee said.
Sentons' ultimate goal is to bring SDS technology to every glass, plastic and metal surface by combining ultrasonic transducers and ultrasonic strain-gauges. Using the Sentons platform, any consumer electronic, from a smartwatch to a car dashboard, can become interactive and definable by app and content creators.
San Jose, California-based Sentons has about 50 employees and has raised $37.7 million in funding from New Enterprise Associates and Northern Light Venture Capital.