The future of smart gadget controls is in ultrasound and Elliptic is bringing it to your gadgets in the next few months.
Using ultrasonic audio a new control interface has been created that allows gadgets to pick up on gestures from across a room.
This new interface is expected to appear in smartphones, smarthome gadgets, and more very soon.
The company says it has been working with major manufactures and that smartphones capable of supporting it will begin to appear soon.
What can ultrasonic do?
By detecting tiny variations in sound waves sent out from the phone's speaker the gadget's microphone can "see" movement. That means it's able to detect a certain hand gesture from several feet away – ideal for smarthome gadgets.
Imagine turning on a light with a hand wave, or locking a door by patting towards it. Demo units are already being shown off that can detect a hand coming close to a screen so it unlocks ready for icons to be pressed.
There's a light that turns on at an air tap twenty feet away, and a speaker that plays and pauses at a tap ten feet away. We also took a selfie on a tablet with a long distance gesture hand wave. And this is just the beginning.
How does it work?
Ultrasonic uses a frequency of sound waves above 20kHz which some phones are now able to emit. The phone's speaker needs to have a wide enough range to emit the higher waves, then the microphone scans 120 times per second to pick up variations.
Thanks to high quality audio in newer gadgets, that feature 96kHz capable hardware, this is something that can be supported more widely.
Elliptic, the company behind the innovation, says the infrared sensor on your phone, that currently detects when it's on your ear and turns the screen off, will be gone soon. The company also says the power consumption of ultrasonic will be comparable to infrared.
Where will ultrasonic controls be?
The Internet of Things is a huge market and one which means a flood of new gadgets are due to invade the home soon. Elliptic wants to offer gesture controls to all of them.
The name Nest came up a few times in our briefing. At the moment Nest can't be gesture controlled as infrared solutions are affected by heat, which would not help on a fire alarm. The ultrasonic system is so sensitive it would work perfectly. So don't be surprised to see this control system appear soon.