Technology: Osram at the Mobile World Congress (MWC)

Osram at the Mobile World Congress

Infrared LEDs for intuitive interaction between man and machine

17.02.2016 | Spotlights: Technology

“Light is connecting” is the slogan Osram Opto Semiconductors is using at the 2016 Mobile World Congress to present itself as a competent partner for optical interfaces between people and their digital companions.

In Barcelona Osram is showcasing specially designed components for the optical human/machine interface (HMI) specifically for use in mobile equipment. In recent times the company has presented a wide-ranging portfolio of high-performance components for such applications. These components include infrared LEDs (IREDs) in various output classes and package versions for gesture recognition systems, infrared emitters for eye-tracking systems, special developments for iris scanners and integrated optical sensors for fitness trackers.

A unique product portfolio for iris scanners
Osram is the world’s only supplier of infrared transmitters that have been specifically designed for iris scanners in smartphones and similar devices. Iris pattern matching is currently the most secure biometric method of access control. For this application Osram has developed an IRED that enables reliable iris scanners to be used for the first time in mobile devices. The Oslux SFH 4780S combines the right wavelength, the necessary optical output and the appropriate emission characteristics to achieve high-contrast images of the eye that can be captured by a compact system with low power consumption. The transmitter has a wavelength of 810 nanometers (nm), is only 2.4 millimeters (mm) high and offers a typical radiant intensity of 2,900 milliwatts per steradiant (mW/sr) – a combination that at present only this IRED can provide. Recently Osram simplified the design of iris scanners still further and launched the SFH 4786S, a shallower version only 1.6 mm high. This new component features a slightly angled direction of emission so there is no further need for the usual mechanical aids.

IREDs for a wide variety of eye-tracking applications
Eye-tracking systems are starting to become established as additional intuitive interfaces between users and the devices they wish to access. They illuminate the eyes with infrared light, record the amount of light reflected from the eyes and use this information to work out the direction in which the user is looking. Such systems could be used in future to scroll through content on notebooks, smartphones and tablets simply by moving your eyes, or activate an icon. Eye trackers in cars could be used to monitor the driver’s eye movements and sound an alarm, for example, if the driver’s attention is away from the road for too long. This new feature would also enable drivers to activate certain functions in a head-up display just by moving their eyes without having to take their attention off the road.

Augmented reality glasses could be used in future in combination with eye tracking to display information precisely where the user is looking. In the gaming sector virtual reality glasses or head mounted displays will use eye tracking to adapt the scenes in the display or the projection surface (near-to-eye projection) to the angle in which the user is looking.

Eye tracking systems are usually based on IREDs with a wavelength of 850 nm. With its extremely broad portfolio for this spectral range Osram Opto Semiconductors covers almost all types of application. The recently launched Synios SFH 4770S is particularly worth mentioning here. This emitter is currently the most compact IRED in the high-power class, measures 2.7 mm x 2.7 mm x 0.6 mm and produces a typical radiant intensity of 375 mW/sr. For designs with a relatively large distance between the eyes and the eye tracking system the versions of the Oslon Black with a somewhat narrower emission angle and radiant intensities between 415 mW/sr and 780 mW/sr are ideal. If the eye tracking system operates at a short distance from the eye, in glasses for example, it requires less powerful emitters with broad cones of light. These can be suitably based on the low-profile Chipled packages.

At the Mobile World Congress from February 22 to 25, 2016 in Barcelona you can find Osram Opto Semiconductors at the Bayern International booth in Hall 8.1 – App Planet booth 8.1I59.