Barcode emulation with touchless gesture detection, e-commerce features in optical sensors

November 18, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
TMG399x intelligent sensor modules from ams integrate a flexible implementation of touchless user interface and display management features for smartphones, tablets and many other consumer devices. ams’ previous “3 in 1” optical sensors now become “5 in 1” devices.

These sensors integrate six key sensing functions including gesture detection and Mobeam

barcode emulation for touchless gesture control and display management in smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices. Mobeam is a means of allowing the smartphone or other portable to transmit to a point-of-sale terminal, an infrared representation of a scanned barcode. This is a means of allowing the consumer to present a “virtual” coupon to the retailer, for example to secure a discount.

Advanced gesture-recognition software developed by ams supports a wide range of gestures, enabling touchless control for consumer devices. ams achieves this with a single package, as opposed to systems which use two spatially-sepated detectors to read gestures. ams' package has four directional photodiodes to sense reflected IR energy, and the device converts this data into physical motion information including velocity, direction and distance.

The TMG399x gesture software currently supports optimised Android drivers, and a fully-qualified gesture library is available for the Qualcomm ADSP sensor core on the Snapdragon 6xx and 8xx processor family for four-direction gesture, plus ALS, proximity, and all the other standard features. The ams gesture software offers expanded capability to include support for eight-direction gesture, push button and taps, and work is in-progress to support other industry-leading third-party sensor hub devices.

The gesture engine features automatic ambient light subtraction, crosstalk cancelation, dual 8-bit data converters, power saving inter-conversion delay, 32-dataset FIFO, and interrupt driven I²C communication. It accommodates a wide range of gesture-detection requirements, from simple North-South-East-West gestures to more complex gestures, including simulated button pushing and taps. Power consumption and noise are minimised with adjustable IR LED timing and optimised gesture algorithms.

The TMG399x product family also integrates ams’ colour sensors. Accurate colour management and light intensity measurements are critical parameters for display management in portable devices operating under a wide range of light sources, including fluorescent, incandescent and sunlight. Proximity detection, composed of the IR LED and sensor, is optimised for