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Boréas advances buttonless Smartphones

Quebec-based piezo chip company demonstrates SmartClik capability at CES Show


Boréas Technologies Inc., Bromont QC, developer of ultra-low-power haptic semiconductor technologies, introduced its SmartClik technology at CES this week, a proof of concept for future buttonless smartphone designs. 

Using Boréas’ ultra-low-power piezoelectric (piezo) driver integrated circuit (IC), the BOS1901— which provides high definition (HD) haptic feedback for the two piezo actuators next to the frame — SmartClik replaces the smartphone’s mechanical volume and power buttons, satisfying growing user demand for more sophisticated HD tactile feedback over staid push-button user interfaces.

Transform haptic-feedback design

“Even today’s highest-end smartphones have just one haptic engine that shakes the whole phone when you push a button. This rudimentary implementation gates designers’ ability to improve the phone’s user interface,” said Simon Chaput, founder and CEO, Boréas Technologies. “SmartClik, on the other hand, uses Boréas’ piezo chip technology to transform haptic-feedback design. Each ‘piezo button’ becomes a localized haptic engine that supports area-specific tactile effects. Because it is software-programmable, SmartClik gives UI designers more versatility. Designers can customize localized haptic feedback for different applications, making gameplay and taking photos feel more realistic.

“SmartClik technology is also highly power-efficient,” added Chaput. “It’s the first technology platform that meets the requirements of buttonless smartphones without draining the battery. It actually saves 10X power over competitive piezoelectric haptic feedback solutions while enabling true HD touch.”

Buttonless proof-of-concept smartphone

SmartClik is buttonless proof-of-concept smartphone design based on Boréas’ BOS1901, the lowest-power piezo driver IC for HD haptic feedback in smartphones, wearables and other battery-powered consumer devices. SmartClik supports the customization of button “feel” in software, allowing designers to change button usage from application to application to create a multi-purpose user interface for many different use cases.

SmartClik’s piezo actuators are sensitive enough to detect pressure right through the phone’s frame. This enables better industrial design in end devices, supporting a unibody of stainless steel, aluminum or glass with the piezo actuators hidden under the frame.