UltraSense Systems Develops New Sensor To Eliminate Physical Buttons On Smartphones


Physical buttons on the smartphone may soon disappear, thanks to this startup. UltraSense Systems, the California-based startup, has launched a sensor that could eliminate the mechanical buttons on smartphones. The new sensors pack ultrasonic sound waves that have the potential to replace the physical buttons on the side of the smartphones.

New Sensor To Eliminate Physical Buttons On Smartphones

Eliminating Physical Buttons On Smartphones

The company was formed by veterans of the semiconductor industry from InvenSense. This was the company that supplied motion sensors to smartphone makers like Apple before Japan's TDK Corp acquired it for about $1.3 billion in 2016.

UltraSense Systems announced that it had developed and released a chip, sized as minuscule as the head of a ballpoint pen. The chip allows the users to tap the frame of the phone rather than needing mechanical buttons for various operations like controlling the volume levels, taking pictures, and other functions.

Plus, the new chip is designed to work on a device, irrespective of the chassis material. Even if the frame of the smartphone is made of steel, glass, aluminum or plastic, the UltraSense's new chip should work just fine. The startup states that the invention will be part of several consumer electronic devices in 2020, but failed to disclose which companies would be using them.

Replacing Physical Buttons

The concept of eliminating physical buttons isn't something new and UltraSense joins the list of growing developers. Take for instance Asustek Computer, it is manufacturing phones aimed at gamers. Simply tapping the 'Air Triggers' on the phone edge alerts the virtual buttons on the device to enhance the gaming experience.

Smartphone designs are continuously being explored by phone makers to pack in more features like bigger batteries or larger antennas to handle 5G and next-generation mobile data networking. Daniel Goehl, UltraSense's chief business officer told Reuters that smartphone technology is seeing a paradigm shift.


Replacing the physical buttons with chips could be the way forward as it could make phone manufacturing easier, he said. UltraSense's technology will further eliminate physical cutouts and waterproofing once the mechanical buttons are gone, the officer said. But we're uncertain how long it would take to make it commercial devices.

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