STMicroelectronics Proximity Sensor Solves Smartphone Hang-Ups

STMicroelectronics Proximity Sensor Solves Smartphone Hang-Ups 
GENEVA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/25/13 --  Smartphones are set to become
even more flexible and more satisfying to use, thanks to a unique
sensor system developed by STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global
semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of
electronics applications. Combining three optical elements in a
single compact package, the VL6180 is the first member of ST's
FlightSense(TM) family and uses a new optical-sensing technology that
reduces the incidence of dropped calls[1] and enables innovative new
user interactions with smartphones.  
The VL6180 uses a ground-breaking proximity measuring technology to
offer unprecedented accuracy and reliability in calculating the
distance between the smartphone and the user. Instead of estimating
distance by measuring the amount of light reflected back from the
object, which is significantly influenced by color and surface, the
sensor precisely measures the time the light takes to travel to the
nearest object and reflect back to the sensor. This "Time-of-Flight"
approach ignores the amount of light reflected back and only
considers the time for the light to make the return journey. 
"This marks the first time that Time-of-Flight technology has been
made available in a form factor small enough to integrate into the
most space-constrained smartphones," said Arnaud Laflaquiere, General
Manager of ST's Imaging Division. "This technology breakthrough
brings a major performance enhancement over existing proximity
sensors, solving the face hang-up issues of current smartphone and
also enabling new innovative ways for users to interact with their
The key to ST's patented new solution is an infra-red emitter that
sends out light pulses, an ultra-fast light detector that picks up
the reflected pulses, and electronic circuitry that accurately
measures the time difference between the emission of a pulse and the
detection of its reflection. 
Combining electronic, optical and packaging unique expertise from
across the company, the VL6180 embeds both a robust ranging
time-of-flight sensor and a wide dynamic ambient light sensor die,
along with an infra-red emitter. Thanks to its all-in-one, ready-to-use architecture, the VL6180 is easy to integrate and saves the
phone-makers long and costly optical and mechanical design
Addressing dropped calls is not the only benefit that ST's new
technology brings to the smartphone market. The ability to measure a
reliable absolute distance from the phone to a hand or other object
opens up new user interaction scenarios that phone manufacturers and
app developers can rapidly exploit. At the World Mobile Congress
(Barcelona, Feb 25-28, Hall 7, Booth E110), ST will demonstrate the
proximity sensor performance and some innovative apps, underlining
the Company's commitment to Wireless and Imaging and the unique
combination of strengths ST brings to the market. 
About STMicroelectronics
 ST is a global leader in the semiconductor
market serving customers across the spectrum of sense and power and
automotive products and embedded processing solutions. From energy
management and savings to trust and data security, from healthcare
and wellness to smart consumer devices, in the home, car and office,
at work and at play, ST is found everywhere microelectronics make a
positive and innovative contribution to people's life. By getting
more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for
In 2012, the Company's net revenues were $8.49 billion. Further
information on ST can be found at 
[1] 35% of US smartphone users experience a dropped call at least
once a week, some of which can be caused by accidental hang-ups,
according to 
STMicroelectronics Proximity Sensor: 
Proximity Sensor_IMAGE: 
For Press Information Contact:
Michael Markowitz
Director Technical Media Relations
+1 781 591 0354 
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