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Knowles Acoustic has developed a digital microphone that supports ultrasonic bandwidth. It allows microphones to assist smartphones and consumer electronics with touch-less gesture recognition, phone-to-phone data transmission, pen input compatibility for handsets and tablets and 3D positioning input.

MEMS microphone

To facilitate these capabilities, the MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) microphone can receive ultrasonic sound waves above the audible range of humans, up to 80kHz, and use those waves to triangulate an object’s location and movement. The technology principles are similar to radar or an ultrasound administered by a doctor during pregnancy.

Beyond the ultrasonic mode, the microphone offers four performance modes, including a low-power voice activation mode, which is ideal for mobile consumer electronics.

According to the company, the advancement offers a potential manufacturing cost saving by integrating more capabilities into an existing component with a smaller footprint.

Knowles expects to begin manufacturing this product in the third quarter of 2014.

Knowles Acoustics

Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN) is a market leader and global supplier of advanced micro-acoustic solutions and specialty components serving the mobile communications, consumer electronics, medical technology, military, aerospace and industrial markets. Knowles has a leading position in micro-electro-mechanical systems microphones, speakers and receivers which are used in smartphones, tablets and mobile handsets. Knowles is also a leading manufacturer of transducers used in hearing aids and other medical devices and has a strong position in oscillators (timing devices) and capacitor components which enable various types of communication. Knowles' focus on the customer, combined with unique technology, rigorous testing and global scale, helps to deliver innovative solutions and consistently dependable and precise products. Founded in 1946 and headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, Knowles has more than 10,000 employees in 36 locations around the world.

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