ams: Laser arrays bring face recognition to Android-based smartphones
ams (SIX: AMS), a leading worldwide supplier of high performance sensor solutions, today announced that its low-power IR VCSEL laser emitter, the PMSIL, is enabling the world’s first implementation of user face recognition in a smartphone based on the Android™ platform. The Mi8 Explorer Edition, the new flagship smartphone from the fast-growing Chinese brand Xiaomi, includes a face recognition system which uses infrared (IR) vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays from ams. The PMSIL is a complete VCSEL flood illuminator system with integrated eye-safety interlock, offering very high optical efficiency and minimizing the drain on the phone’s battery when emitting.
The PMSIL incorporates the emitter die, and a diffuser in its compact 3mm x 3mm x 1mm package. It features high spectral stability over temperature, and a narrow spectral width of <1nm. Its engineered beam profile can be precisely configured to the needs of specific smartphone applications.
In the Mi8 Explorer Edition, the PMSIL operates in always-on mode for face detection and recognition. The IR VCSEL emitter in the structured lighting system, the CS115, is also supplied by ams. The IR emitter is a IR chip-on-substrate VCSEL array, and is also notable for its small footprint and high optical efficiency.
ams’ VCSEL technology is the result of 15 years of development which has resulted in numerous optimizations of the VCSEL fabrication process technology, materials and packaging. Customers can also draw on the industry’s most comprehensive and exhaustively validated test data and performance models, providing predictable performance characterizations and accurate quality and reliability data.
The ams relationship with Xiaomi extends beyond the provision of IR laser arrays: ams also supplies the TMD27253 ambient light sensor and proximity detection module in the Mi8 and Mi8SE models.
"Xiaomi is a stand-out performer in the Chinese smartphone market and, increasingly, globally because of its bold and innovative design approach and its ability to implement advanced technologies in beautiful, sleek phones," said Tim McGarry, product manager for VCSEL arrays at ams. "To fit the slim, bezel-less design of the Mi8 Explorer Edition, Xiaomi’s designers wanted to build the smallest possible face recognition system which led them to evaluate the ams IR VCSEL arrays. Once they tested the power consumption of the ams devices against that of competing products, the overall superiority of the ams parts became very clear."