Optoelectronics

Ultra-compact infrared LED enables gesture control

15th May 2020
Alex Lynn

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and technologies previously designed for mobile devices – such as facial recognition, eye tracking or gesture control – are increasingly making their way into the automotive sector. These technologies are based on infrared light.

The smaller and more powerful the required components, the easier they are to integrate into complex designs. Osram’s Oslon Piccolo now offers an extremely compact infrared LED (IRED) that packs enormous power in a small package, making it ideal for automotive customers.

Just as mobility will change in the coming years, so will the purpose of the vehicles themselves. Autonomous driving will lead the way, creating the need for cars to be equipped with more and more functions to make the interaction between occupants and vehicles more intuitive. An autonomous vehicle will have a fundamentally different interior design than current models. The classic dashboard will be replaced by other user interfaces and options for communication.

Today, drivers can already use voice assistants for navigation and control simple functions via gesture control. Thanks to gesture recognition, completely new ways of interacting with displays are also being developed. For example, when navigating to a destination, the vehicle displays a map with the corresponding route.

At the edges of the image, different menu items for operating the display are shown in a standardized way – which in turn takes away space from the map display. With the help of gesture recognition, menu items are only shown when the driver moves his hand towards the display, allowing the route to appear full screen.

“Mobile applications, such as facial recognition, are influencing the design of interior displays of autonomous vehicles, meaning that manufacturers need to find ways to accommodate a range of advanced features in a small space," said Mike Godwin, Director of Automotive LED Lighting at Osram Opto Semiconductors in North America. "Because of its extremely compact dimensions of only 1.6x1.6mm and a package height of only 0.81 mm, the Oslon Piccolo can be installed easily in a small space, making it perfect for interactive automotive applications.”

With a DC power of 1.15W at one amp and very fast switching times of 10ns, the component is suitable as both a constant light source for a camera-based application and for 3D image acquisition with modulated or fast pulsed light. The automotive-qualified component (AEC-Q102) is available in two different wavelengths: 850nm (SFH 4170S A01) and 940 nm (SFH 4180S A01).  

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