Capella CM3612 Light Sensor Chip Extends Portable Battery Life

Capella Microsystems, Inc. announced the industry’s first proximity and ambient light sensor chip. The CM3612 extends battery life in touch-screen products such as iPhones®, and other portable products such as cell phones, notebook computers and digital cameras. The new chip contains an infrared light proximity sensor and related circuitry that detects when screens on portable products are not being viewed and thereby enables these products to automatically turn off their screens and extend their battery life. The proximity sensor can also be used to deactivate a touch-screen phone so that it does not dial numbers when in contact with a user’s head.

The new chip can be used in digital cameras where the proximity function can sense when a user’s eye is near the view finder and turn off the external viewing screen. The proximity function can also control backlit keyboards for use in dark areas such as airplane cabins.

The chip also contains an ambient light sensor that extends battery life by allowing the automatic adjustment of screen brightness to match external light conditions. The ambient light sensor uses the company’s patent-pending Filtron(tm) technology to mimic the brightness sensor of the human eye by only detecting wavelengths in the range of 450 to 650 nm.

According to Cheng-chung Shih, President and CEO of Capella Microsystems, Inc, “In the past, proximity and ambient light sensors had never been combined in a single chip because of the cost and space required for plastic filters. Our patent-pending Filtron(tm) technology allows us to overcome this obstacle by building the optical filters into the chip as part of the integrated circuit fabrication process.”

In addition to its infrared proximity sensor and ambient light sensor, the chip contains a digital low-pass filter that removes florescent light flicker, a 12 bit A/D converter, DSP, temperature compensation circuit, I2C interface, oscillator and a driver for an infrared emitter.

About Capella Microsystems
Capella Microsystems, Inc. is a privately held fabless semiconductor design company that develops optical electronic products. The company was founded in 1996 and its elite technical team consists of highly experienced experts in the design of analog, CMOS/Bipolar and analog optics circuits. The company has offices in both the United States and Taiwan. Capella Microsystems, Inc. is located at 2361 Calle Del Mundo, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Telephone: (408) 727-8500 X618, Fax: (408) 969-0894.

iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. Filtron is a trademark of Capella Microsystems, Inc.