Heptagon, a global company that develops 3D imaging, sensing and illumination technology for the Internet of Things and smart devices, has produced the world’s smallest near-field optical sensing module.
The new module, which includes electronics, a sensor and illuminator, packaging and a lens system, is 350 microns thick and has a surface area of just 2mm². Incredibly, this means that Heptagon’s new module is four times thinner than a US one cent coin. This new technology may help to set the stage for the next generation of smaller and smarter wearables.
“We are excited to be taking our sensor technologies to an all new level,” says Hartmut Rudmann, Senior VP of Engineering at Heptagon.
“By combining proprietary design and processes in solution development for these significantly thinner sensors, we’re enabling greater design flexibility with reduced form factor and improved aesthetics for mobile and wearable devices seeking slimmer profiles, such as smart watches. It is now possible to spread out more sensors in a device to increase coverage or for a more accurate reading.”
Comparable products currently available are 40% thicker, according to the company’s press release. Heptagon says that due to its size, this new technology is ideally suited for integrating contact-sensing and skin-proximity detection functionality in next generation wearable devices, smartphones and ultra-thin notebooks. Additionally, the technology can be used for monitoring of vitals signs in health care and intelligent keyless access systems for things like car doors and gear shifts.
Heptagon is able to manufacture high volumes of highly accurate, advanced opto-electronic products onto a single wafer with very high yields due to its wafer-level process technology. Apparently, the module is in mass production already. Heptagon has also announced a shipment milestone of over 2 billion systems and the opening of two new facilities.
“We are well positioned to pursue new market opportunities with the expansion of our fab in Woodlands, Singapore, and the opening of our new factory in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore,” says S.C. Leong, Heptagon’s chief operating officer.