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We’re Right Under Your Nose and You Didn’t Even Know It

Oct 22, 2019

By Synaptics Incorporated


Imagine if through some warp in spacetime yourself of ten years ago appeared in your bedroom this morning. What would surprise her? The baby is now twelve, and you moved to a bigger house. That’s predictable. The technology looks no more futuristic. The cellphones are a little bigger, a few more cars run on electric power, but even of the most high-tech gadgets seem little different than they were a decade ago. (OK, if she looks very closely, she might notice some odd hockey puck shaped devices in the corners of several rooms and a bulky helmet-like thing attached to the family room computer.)

What would really amaze last decade’s you, however, is how people today interact with all these devices. We talk to our light switches; we start our cars with our fingerprint; and we use sophisticated gestures and pressure to unlock all the power of our smartphones.

“What’s changed that makes all this possible now?” she might ask. Part of the answer is ubiquitous wireless internet connections to powerful cloud processing. But just as important has been the development of sophisticated chips that enable inexpensive devices to interact with people through sight, sound and touch.  

The leader in human interface technology is Synaptics, and our sensors, controllers and systems on a chip (SoC) are embedded into many of the most advanced devices in use today. Let’s see how many our decade-hopping visitor would observe in your morning.

Let’s see how many 2009 you will see as you go through the morning:

  • The day begins as your smart speaker heckles you to wake up in the voice of your favorite comedian. Inside is a Synaptics AudioSmart edge computing SoC that coordinates the myriad functions it can perform...
  • You grunt, “Speaker, let me sleep.” It can capture your voice accurately because the Synaptics AudioSmart Far-Field Voice tech uses an array of microphones to detect speech from as far as 16 feet away…
  • Bleary-eyed, you grab your phone from the nightstand to see what messages came in overnight. The crisp OLED screen is easy to read because the brightness and color adjust to the dim light of the bedroom enabled by the Synaptics ClearView display driver...
  • You read that you need to change the slides for the big meeting today. You make a big check-mark on the screen, a custom gesture you’ve defined enabled by the capabilities of Synaptics’ ClearPad touch controller. The phone automatically sends response, “I’m on it, boss.”
  • Stumbling into the bathroom, you yawn and blurt out, “Make my brew.” The bathroom smart speaker, using Smart Edge AI, knows what you mean and instructs your connected coffee pot to make your brew exactly how you like it…
  • Sitting down, mug in hand, you notice your ten-year-old has snuck out of bed and is playing a video game on your VR headset. (That’s something they didn’t have a decade ago.) He’s engrossed in vivid animation powered by Synaptics ClearView display drivers, immersive sound from the Synaptics digital audio SoC, and an amazing experience controlled by the PC through the Synaptics high-speed ConnectSmart interface
  • How is the world falling apart today? You wonder... So you flip on your TV, which displays the latest calamities in vivid 4K HDR video thanks to the media streamer enabled by Synaptics’ VideoSmart processor…
  • Huffing your way around the park on your morning jog, you keep pace to your “Pump me up” playlist rendered by a headset featuring a Synaptics high resolution audio digital headset SoC
  • Before heading to work you want to edit that PowerPoint. You unlock your laptop with a touch using the Synaptics’ Natural ID secure fingerprint sensor and control it precisely with its Synaptics TouchPad
  • Your boss is very picky about how charts are aligned. Good thing your laptop connects to a big external monitor through a Synaptics ConnectSmart video interface IC.
  • Time to jump in the car. Instead of an ignition key, you start the engine with a touch because of the Synaptics Natural ID secure fingerprint sensor. You think, I sure am glad my kid cannot start it with his finger. You check the gas on your digital dashboard powered by the Synaptics Display Driver. Then tap the location of that big meeting into the navigation system using a touchscreen enabled by the Synaptics TDDI touchscreen controller.  

As you drive off, your visitor stays behind to find the portal back to her life ten years ago. There’s no reason she thinks to get in the PowerPoint hot seat any sooner than needed, and the challenges of a toddler seem more manageable than those of a budding adolescent. Still, she’s impressed at all the technological advances inside of all the familiar looking devices.

“I can’t wait until my phone, my car, my TV and my coffee pot actually do what I tell them and understand what I really want,” she thinks while slipping through the portal.

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