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Sensor allows mobile phones to automatically switch between earpiece and "speaker phone" modes
Posted: 04-Sep-2004 [Source: Agilent]

[Agilent announces the HSDL-9100-021 optical proximity sensor that allows a mobile handset to automatically switch between earpiece and speaker phone modes.]

Making a mobile phone call, whether for a business teleconference or to tell a friend about last night's adventure, can be difficult when the user is en route to another destination. It is particularly challenging and potentially dangerous when the user is driving and holding the handset poses a distraction. To help users continue mobile conversations more safely while traveling, Agilent has introduced a miniature, low-cost optical proximity sensor that enables mobile phones to automatically switch between earpiece and loudspeaker modes.

Agilent's HSDL-9100-021 optical proximity sensor allows a business traveler, for example, to start a conversation with the handset to his or her ear. When the user gets into the car to drive to the airport, the handset is set down and the phone automatically changes to loudspeaker mode, allowing the user to keep talking without interruption. Once at the airport, the user gets out of the car, picks up the handset and holds it to his or her ear to continue the conversation.

Specifically optimized for size, performance and ease of design in mobile appliances, Agilent's new optical sensor provides a small footprint, ideal for space-constrained applications, and offers a variable detection range from approximately zero to 60 mm (2.4 inches). This allows manufacturers to easily customize the device for multiple applications, adding new convenience and performance features to mobile devices and appliances.

Other applications include the ability to detect the opening and closing of popular clamshell mobile phones or to activate the power-saving mode in notebook computers. In addition, the proximity sensor can be used for paper-edge detection in printers, photocopiers and fax machines, as well as switch on/off home appliances, such as table lamps, without the need for mechanical switches. There are many other potential applications within the consumer, industrial and automotive markets.

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