News Column

Knowles Enables Touch-less Gesture Recognition for Smartphones and Tablets

June 17, 2014

The world’s largest microphone manufacturer develops the world’s first digital ultrasonic MEMS Microphone

ITASCA, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The engineers at Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN) have developed the world’s first digital microphone supporting ultrasonic bandwidth. This new product allows the microphone 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.

To facilitate these capabilities, the new MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) microphone can receive ultrasonic sound waves above the audible range of humans, up to 80 kHz, 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.

“Our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation allows us to develop leading edge products that push the industry forward and enhance the user experience,” said Mike Adell, Knowles’ Co-President of Mobile Consumer Electronics. “Knowles invented the MEMS microphone and facilitated the audio enhancements in the smartphone revolution. We are the world’s largest microphone manufacturer, and our new ultrasonic bandwidth microphone is another example of how we use our audio expertise to solve for the ever-changing consumer market.”

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

“Our experience and customer relationships allow us to develop products with the best acoustic performance per square millimeter, while reducing the amount of board space required,” said Thibault Kassir, Senior Director, Product Management, Mobile Consumer Electronics. “This highly advanced microphone provides designers with an intelligent solution that reshapes the capabilities of the category.”

Approximately three billion people communicate every day with the support of a Knowles product and this new microphone is an evolutionary step for mobile consumer electronics.

Compared to other solutions, this advancement offers a potential manufacturing cost savings 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.

Product Details

  • Product: High SNR digital bottom port microphone
  • Part Number: SPH0641LU4H-1
  • Measurements: 3.50 x 2.65 x 0.98 mm

    Product Features

  • Supports ultrasonic frequencies
  • Superwide-band capable
  • Lowest power consumption in the market (3x less than other digital microphones)
  • Best acoustic performance per square millimeter
  • Multiple performance modes (sleep, low-power, standard mode, ultrasonic mode)
  • Sensitivity matching for better algorithm performance
  • Easier system integration and better RF immunity compared to analog microphones

    Technical Data

  • Ultrasonic frequencies: Up to 80kHz
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: Nominal 64.3 dB(A)
  • Flat Frequency Response: Up to 20 kHz
  • Power consumption: 235µA in low power mode
  • Size: More than 20% smaller than other digital microphones
  • Sensitivity matching: ±1 dB

    About Knowles Corporation

    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. For more information, visit


    Melissa York

    Knowles Communications



    Mike Knapp

    Knowles Investor Relations


    Source: Knowles Corporation

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    Source: Business Wire