Sonar technology in mobile devices

Touch screens are comfortable to use, provided they have the right size, so the use of smartwatches and small smartphones is not comfortable. New technology called Fingerio, developed by scientists at the University of Washington, may change.

Fingerio is a technology that turns a mobile device into a sonar capable of tracking finger movements on a nearby surface, such as a desk top, or even in the air.

The operation of the system is based on the cyclical emitting of inaudible human sound waves, which bounce off the fixed objects, in this case our finger, and then return to the two microphones built into the smartphones. On this basis, the position of the finger in space is determined, and its movements are translated into commands understandable to the system.

Interestingly enough, the system is quite accurate as it operates almost in real time and its accuracy is 8 mm. It’s not as precise as it is in typical touchscreens, but technology is only at an early stage of development and, as development progresses, precision will certainly improve.

The advantage of the Fingerio system is that it can function even when the device is covered with material, that is, the smartwatch is under the shirt, and the smartphone in the trouser pocket. Unfortunately, there is also a disadvantage, because the technology works like a radar, which requires additional equipment and more computing power. In other words, it is not possible to implement this technology in existing devices and must be done at the design stage of new models.

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