First multi-zone time-of-flight sensor for smartphones

26th October 2020
Alex Lynn

STMicroelectronics has revealed that the Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra uses ST sensing and control technology, including its multi-zone time-of-flight sensor, enhancing the smartphones’ features with minimal noise and package size. The Galaxy Note20 similarly leverages ST’s MEMS pressure sensors, inertial measurement units, and EEPROMs.

With camera performance and user experience becoming more and more important in consumers’ choice of their personal communication devices, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra, and the Galaxy Note20, have placed strong emphasis on capturing images and video in stunning sharpness and detail. Samsung’s accent on managing performance and power efficiency led them to select ST’s low-power six-axis MEMS Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and EEPROM with low-power performance.

An ST MEMS barometric pressure sensor measures the atmospheric pressure as well as the user altitude and can enable precise fitness tracking and many other applications where vertical detection is important. In addition, to provide ultra-fast and accurate focusing for complex scenes where enhanced camera performance is required, Samsung added ST’s FlightSense Time-of-Flight sensor, the world’s first, multi-zone all-in-one module, to the Note20 Ultra.

Another key feature, the S Pen stylus in the Note 20 series embeds an ST 6-axis IMU for quick gesture detection and interpretation. The ultra-low-power ST device includes ST’s Machine Learning logic to simplify the analysis of the gesture interpretation for almost latency free responsiveness and precision.

Enabling these new features through their low-noise, low-power design, ST’s IMU and pressure sensor also efficiently perform standard Android OS features. These include detecting device orientation, steps, tilt, motion, and air pressure.

“Samsung’s commitment to low power and high performance, evident in its Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra, contributes to pushing us to maximise performance and power efficiency in all of our products,” said Marco Cassis, President, Sales, Marketing, Communications and Strategy Development, STMicroelectronics. “Our broad portfolio of sensors, along with EEPROM memory, power, and other devices, offers an outstanding range of options to best optimise performance and power.” 

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