It 's aim at a starter led by a former Apple engineer to eliminate smart phone buttons

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(Reuters) – Sentons started, led by chip industry veterans, on Thursday, marketing technology which aims to achieve gadget buttons and said it is working with two smart phone manufacturers as well as a contract that exists. already with Asus Computer Inc (2357.TW).

Jess Lee, CEO of technology startup Sentons Inc., features a virtual jog wheel company based on a custom sensor on a test device in San Francisco, California, USA October 14, 2019. Picture taken October 14, 2019. REUTERS / Stephen Nellis

Directed by Jess Lee, an engineer who previously sold his company to Apple Inc (AAPL.O, Sentons announced a sensor system that uses ultrasonic sound waves to detect touches, presses and swipes on different materials like metal edges around a smart phone.

Asus and his partner Tencent Holdings are already using the technology0700.HK) in a phone designed for gamers released in China this summer.

In Asus phone, the gamers sensors allow the phone to hold horizontally and “Air Triggers” turn on its upper edge as virtual buttons with its index finger while their thumb hits the screen.

“Touch screens are great, but (phone makers couldn't find out how to interact with the sides,” Lee told Reuters in an interview.

“With the elements thinner and thinner, even all glass or really thin metal fungal edges, there is no space for buttons.”

Lee, who sold an image sensor called InVisage Technologies to Apple in 2017, refused to identify the other two smartphone manufacturers Sentons working with.

The core of the Sentons technology is a customized core that sends out the sound waves and contains a processor and algorithms to understand different gestures.

Sentons are working on a virtual jog wheel that also allows users to scroll through apps on phones that are too big to have with one hand. Another project involves a virtual aperture button to target a phone camera, such as the way a physical shutter button works on dedicated digital cameras, Lee said.

San Jose, Sentons based in California has approximately 50 employees and has received funding of € 37.7 million from New Enterprise Associates and Northern Light Venture Capital.

Apart from smartphones, Lee said that the company expects touch interactions with devices where the screen space is very limited, for example smart spectacle frames or smart smart bands, or where there are no screens, such as steering wheels. of cars.

In cars, “there is a lot of luxury material – woods and leathers and metals,” he said. “We can do that actively.”

Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Edited with Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards:The principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

(TTTranslate tags) US (t) SENTONS (t) TECH (t) Computer and Electronics Retailers (TRBC) (t) Hong Kong (t) Taiwan (t) Company News (t) Software (TRBC) (t) Products / Services ( t) Semiconductors (TRBC) (TRBC) (t) Asia / Pacific (t) Pictures (t) United States (t) Computer Hardware (TRBC)

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