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Contextual awareness - The senses of IoT

Giving human senses to “things” to make our lives easier

IoT technology is integrated into many areas of our daily lives. Billions of devices and smart machines – equipped with powerful microelectronics – are changing the way we communicate, live, and work. But telling these devices and machines what we want them to do can be tedious and time-consuming.

Wouldn’t it be great if our devices could read our minds?

Infineon believes in creating IoT technology that is unobtrusively integrated into our lives – in a world where we no longer need to push buttons because our devices intuitively understand what we want them to do. The key to this intuitive understanding lies in emulating the human senses. In other words, giving human-like senses to everything from > smart devices and > home appliances to > robots, > machines, and building automation systems. This contextual awareness allows “things” to finally detect and understand their surroundings, and to respond to human gestures and voice commands like never before.

Reflecting our holistic approach to IoT design, our vision is to complement our
> XENSIV™ sensors with state-of-the-art software to create a comprehensive picture of the world around us. Our broad sensor portfolio spans > MEMS microphones,
plus > pressure, > radar, > environmental, and > 3D image sensors (REAL3™). All of which enable designers to create more intelligent, contextually aware devices equipped with:

Human-like senses to “things”

by Andreas Urschitz

Building on our long-standing IoT and systems expertise, these ready-to-use > XENSIV™ solutions enable fast time-to-market and reliable functionality.

Read on to discover more about just two of our > XENSIV™ highlights – enabling smart eyes and ears.

Giving eyes to things with REAL3™
time-of-flight sensors

Vision is one of the core senses in the move to smartify electronics and take the complexity out of interaction with humans. Similar to the human eye, a > ToF-based 3D imager measures how long it takes for light to bounce back off a subject.
It uses this feedback to create a 3D map of objects, rooms, and people in real time. Enabling secure, password-free, contactless mobile user experiences, our > REAL3™ ToF 3D image sensors are ideal for fast, seamless, and spoof-proof facial identification in applications like phone/app unlocking, mobile payments, and much.

For instance, in gaming and e-commerce applications, instant augmented reality and 3D scanning/mapping based on ToF sensors are opening up endless new possibilities.
> Watch here our latest webinar on the possibilities of ToF for mobile applications.

Giving eyes to things with REAL3™ time-of-flight sensors

by Dr. Bernd Buxbaum & Andreas Urschitz

Perfect fit for the smallest camera modules

Together with > our partner > pmdtechnologies, we have developed various 3D reference cameras and deliver world-leading ToF image sensors tailored to the smartphone market and other markets like automotive or robotics.
For over 15 years now, we have been jointly pioneering 3D depth sensing innovations to shrink footprints, extend resolution as well as range (in both length and width), and increase energy efficiency.

Now in its 10th generation, this mature ToF image sensing technology offers a unique advantage by increasing the frequency as it shrinks the pixels. This sets these imagers apart from standard imaging technologies, which typically collect less light as they shrink in size.

Another key advantage of this collaborative venture is the fact that customers can look forward to accelerated time-to-market with a combined, turnkey offering spanning hardware, reference designs, software algorithms, and support.


And because it’s all about the camera …

Sharper and brighter results, perfect picture quality, and advanced visual effects are must-haves for today’s user.
> Our REAL3™ ToF sensors are taking smartphone cameras to the next level. Users can expect nearly-professional photography results with special effects like bokeh for photo and video, improved resolution in low-light conditions, and more beautiful night-mode portraits. Our solutions enable a wider pixel scan with more pixels than the competition for even better results.

Latest happenings …

The next big thing in the ToF space is under-display time of flight (udToF), eliminating the need for a recess and notch on the screen. This is not just a mechanical tweak – full software and algorithmic integration of the 3D camera module behind the screen results in a larger screen but the same functionality for secure face authentication to the highest industry standards.

Other trends to keep an eye on include new materials, higher wavelengths for longer ranges and even lower power consumption. In other words, smaller designs, smaller price tags, and bigger performance."

Giving ears to things with XENSIV™ MEMS microphones

Moving on to another one of the key senses for contextually aware IoT devices, we have partnered with > RØDE Microphones to build smarter ears into consumer devices. Our low-noise MEMS microphones combined with advanced beam forming and signal processing technology from RØDE are enriching every consumer device with the highest-end audio experiences.

Finally – audio capture on a par with advances in video capture!

Our > MEMS microphones bring best-in-class performance – with the lowest possible self-noise (high SNR) and lowest distortion – to more and more IoT applications. Complementing our > XENSIV™ MEMS microphones, RØDE contributes proprietary beamforming and processing technologies for advanced direction of arrival detection, noise reduction, and de-reverberation. Thanks to audio zoom, consumers can now hone in on the sound they want and dim the rest.

Giving ears to things with XENSIV™ MEMS microphones

by Damien Wilson (RØDE)

Extending audio superpowers beyond smartphones

This new enhanced audio experience is not just limited to smartphone and earbud form factors. Overcoming existing audio chain limitations, our > XENSIV™ MEMS microphones featuring RØDE technology are bringing revolutionary sensory experiences to an ever-expanding range of IoT-connected devices. In short, any use case where sound matters can benefit from our technology. Hence we are seeing > XENSIV™ MEMS microphones being deployed to improve audio performance in cars and improve the in-cabin experience, to eliminate the need for external headphones on laptops and tablets, to improve the quality of conferencing systems, and to create voice-user interfaces such as > smart speaker that hear better, sound better, and react more intuitively.

More about XENSIV™ MEMS microphones

Infineon XENSIV™ MEMS microphones - giving things an ear

Hearing is the most differentiated of all the senses. Our ears distinguish between up to 400,000 sounds, ten octaves and 7,000 different tone pitches. Inspired by the human senses - our XENSIV™ MEMS microphones give »smart ears« to audio and voice-controlled devices. Making communication more natural and intuitive.

New performance class of XENSIV™ MEMS microphones

Our XENSIV™ MEMS microphones introduce a new performance class of digital MEMS microphones that overcomes existing audio chain limitations. Infineon’s microphones provide premium digital audio raw data, perfect to combine with advanced audio signal processing algorithms for best noise attenuation experience in any environment.

Binaural listening experience with Infineon MEMS microphones

Immerse yourself in a virtual sound stage! A human auditory system is simulated by placing two Infineon high performance MEMS microphones in the ears of an artificial head. These are connected to an Infineon Audiohub Nano board that sends the recorded sound directly to your headphone. Because of the low self-noise of the microphones, it feels like you are listening with your own ears and are right were the action is!

Experience high performance Infineon XENSIV™ MEMS microphone

What is the difference between a high and a low performance MEMS microphone? Hear for yourself! In this demonstrator, we focus on a microphone’s dynamic range, which describes how well microphones can record quiet as well as very loud sounds. The upper limit of a microphone’s dynamic range is defined as the Acoustic Overload Point (AOP) - the maximum volume a signal can have before the physical limits of the microphone are reached. The lower limit is defined by the microphone’s self-noise level, or Signal to Noise ratio (SNR). A microphone can only record sounds above its self-noise level. Here, you will get to hear how recordings sound differently based on whether you use a low or a high dynamic range microphone.

More about REAL3™ time-of-flight sensors

3D image sensor market – growth potential for extended applications

The 3D sensor market in smartphones for rear side cameras is expected to grow up to more than 500 million units per year until 2024. New applications are on the rise. Philipp von Schierstaedt and Dr. Bernd Buxbaum exclusively present the latest 3D sensor development from Infineon and pmd, which offers state-of-the-art photography results and the longest range for Augmented Reality in the market.

pmd Technolgies: Giving human senses to devices

Jochen Penne (Member of the Executive Board at pmd Technologies) giving the devices a human scale understanding of the environment via time-of-flight integration with customer friendly functions.