We are familiar with gesture control from smartphones, for example, but here a touchscreen is required. As far as contactless solutions for human-machine communication are concerned, assistance systems for voice recognition and interpretation are currently leading the way. However, they are not always suitable for public areas and work reliably only in quiet environments.
New avenues of contactless communication are being explored by a team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) . It is using a new class of micro-mechanical ultrasound converters for reliable detection of three-dimensional changes in distances, movement patterns and gestures. The very small and cheap components allow very high sound pressure and offer flexible frequency design for optimal alignment of spacing and sensitivity. Possible areas of application for the ultrasound-based, contactless movement detection lie in automation, security and medical technology, the automobile industry and entertainment and household electronics.