Sentons reveals interaction sensors that transform anything into touchable surfaces

Introducing SurfaceWave technology; a genius patented tech that can turn any surface into a smart surface. How does it work, and when can we get it?
SurfaceWave tech makes the 3D sensory imaging of Marvel’s Iron Man a reality. Photo: Marvel

Who are Sentons?

Founded in 2011, with offices in California, Taiwan, China and South Korea, Sentons produce innovative tech and apps which harness the latest touch and pressure sensitive functions.

The applications are endless; ultrasonics can viably transform literally ANY surface into responsive screens, including traditional materials such as wood and metal. The pressure sensitivity can be calibrated to the strength and intended purpose of the surface, ranging from 5g to 5kg, so has a high degree of flexibility.

What are Sentons goals?

Potential uses here go far beyond smart phones and gaming devices; Sentons’ aspiration is ‘unlocking a new level of interactivity for human machine interfaces’. Next level stuff!

Sentons offer OEM smartphone manufacturers a range of SurfaceWave applications. Photo: Sentons

Imagine a home where your gestures control every function, and each surface responds to touch signals. Lights activated by voice command are set to become old news, with the capacity of electronic acousto-mechanics technology to transform the way we live.

Envisage using a hand gesture to dim the lights, a swipe of the hand to turn up the heating, and a wink to let your alarm know you need just five more minutes sleep.

What products do Sentons offer?

SurfaceWave is already on the market in some devices; Sentons advise that ‘the first phones featuring their technology were launched to worldwide markets in 2018’. Of these, the only known device is the Asus ROG phone.

The ROG phone is one of the current models on the market featuring Sentons technology. Image: Asus

Sentons currently offers a range of smartphone products; virtual buttons, slider bars, squeeze sensors and multi-touch surfaces. Tech Crunch have reported that an additional ’10-12 devices’ are being developed.

The SurfaceWave tech is on the open market, so in the race to develop the next big thing I’d be very surprised if the big players aren’t already heavily invested in integrating this tech into their launches over the next few cycles.

What is really interesting is how this technology will develop further. Smartphones which can be squeezed to silence them and boast virtual buttons are exciting, but this has the scope to be developed into far reaching applications that we can’t yet foresee.

How does SurfaceWave work?

There are two elements to SurfaceWave; ultrasonic touch sensing and ultrasonic strain gauge.

Ultrasonic touch sensing can be used on ‘any surface, with any curve’. Let’s read that again – ANY surface, with ANY curve. How long before this is integrated into driving, cooking, shopping…?

This tech works on the basis of radio frequencies focused through tiny transducers that are extremely sensitive to touch and respond accordingly. These chips are seriously smart, and can interpret precisely where and how hard they have been touched to trigger the appropriate response.

Ultrasonic strain gauge is a concept developed to complement the touch sensing tech, and Sentons’ have designed the smallest ever sensor which measures the force against a surface. Sentons boast that their tech ‘has the highest levels of sensor accuracy and in-field stability of any solution on the market today’.

What really made me excited to learn about this was that the sensors work in conjunction with the touch sensing tech to produce 3D images of the object. Remember Iron Man, where every suit spec appeared in thin air at the swipe of a hand? Yep, that is what SurfaceWave could do.

Surface force sensing. Photo: Sentons

What is the potential for buttonless devices?

The potential is incredible. Here we have actionable, viable tech which can accommodate any surface, any material, any shape and any application.

Being able to manifest 3D imaging technology gives rise to functions where we could summon our networks, devices and work stations from – literally – thin air.

Forget sci fi, the future is already here. It already exists. It already works. And it could be, well, revolutionary.

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