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Apple supplier ams launches behind-the-screen optical sensor

By Anton D. Nagy January 9, 2019, 2:00 am

Austrian tech company ams is the one behind the 3D facial recognition used by Apple on its iPhones. Despite not considering itself an Apple supplier per se, Reuters notes that the iPhone-maker accounts for 45 percent of its sales. ams announced the launch of its latest behind-the-screen optical sensor, the TCS3701, which is an RGB light and proximity sensor integrated circuit.

By being able to place these sensors behind the screen, smartphone manufacturers can continue pursuing the “all screen” smartphone concept. ams says the IC “supports today’s industrial design trend to maximize smartphone display area by eliminating front-facing bezels, where an ambient light/proximity sensor is typically located“.

Whether we will see, and when, this new technology in smartphones is yet unknown. However, by placing the earpiece on the top edge, the camera behind the screen (in a punch hole or not), in-display sensors and fingerprint scanners, we are getting closer and closer to smartphones which will feature nothing but the display on the front.

By developing this ‘Behind OLED’ ambient light/proximity sensor, ams enables smartphone manufacturers to achieve the highest possible ratio of display area to body size while retaining crucial touchscreen disablement and automatic display brightness/color adjustment functions, which require an RGB/infrared light sensor.

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