According to foreign media sources, a research team at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) recently used a new type of ultrasonic sensor to detect distance changes, motion patterns and gestures up to half a meter. In addition to being very mini and low in production cost, this component provides high sound pressure and provides a flexible frequency design for optimum balance of distance and sensitivity.
With the popularity of smartphones, simple gestures have become commonplace, but such gesture control requires a touch screen. In the absence of a touch screen or the inability to use hands and fingers, a contactless human-machine communication solution is required. In particular, systems for speech recognition and interpretation have become increasingly popular. However, these systems rely on quiet environments without external noise interference and are not suitable for use in public areas.
Fraunhofer IPMS researchers are investigating another way to provide non-contact 3D recording of distance, motion and posture in communication with robots as well as surgical areas and home systems. Scientists have recently developed a microchip architecture that can generate and receive ultrasound up to 300 kHz. It is found by measurement whether the ultrasonic wave travels between the sensor system and the reflective object, or how the reflected sound wave is analyzed due to the Doppler effect of moving the frequency. Ultrasound evaluation provides spatial resolution for natural motion and gestures within a sub-cm range up to half a meter.
The Fraunhofer IPMS representative stated that ultrasonic transducers are superior to other optical sensors. According to Group Leader Sandro Koch, "Our ultrasonic sensors are able to build lower cost electronic and software systems with longer signal transmission times than camera-based systems. Sensors are less susceptible to stray light and can Reliable data acquisition on optically transparent surfaces. Our systems are CMOS compatible, more connected and can be mass produced."
Researchers are implementing a new type of electrostatic microelectromechanical (MEMS) bending actuator. Since 2016, this type of actuator has made continuous progress in sound in micro-speakers and micro-pumps. Fraunhofer IPMS's patented nano-e-drive (NED) principle utilizes the force of a strong electrostatic field in the nano-sized electrode gap, allowing mechanical motion to range from a few microns. Sound generation is generated by the accumulation of chip surfaces as well as complete components.