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SigmaSense teams up with NXP to transform touch interfaces


May 17, 2023
SigmaSense teams up with NXP to transform touch interfaces


SigmaSense announced a license and co-development deal with NXP Semiconductors to create a new kind of multi-dimensional sensing technology to revolutionize user experiences.

Austin, Texas-based SigmaSense has licensed technology to NXP, and the companies will collaborate on high-performance sensing products for specific applications with demands for faster, more robust, fully immersive software-defined experiences.

NXP recently said it invested $35 million in the first tranche of a SigmaSense Series B funding.

“The next generation of smart devices and applications are demanding data for enhanced functionality
that requires an entirely new software-programmable approach to sensing,” said Lars Reger, CTO of NXP
Semiconductors, in a statement. “SigmaSense created a breakthrough in sensing technology with an innovative approach that makes exciting new product designs possible. We are thrilled to team with SigmaSense to productize a new era of NXP solutions.”

SigmaSense innovations make it possible to extract vastly more data from the physical world for a wide range of products and systems. Multi-dimensional sensing works through many different surfaces, shapes, and materials, enabling previously impossible designs.

SigmaSense powers a 3D polymer touch technology.
SigmaSense powers a 3D polymer touch technology.

“NXP’s prowess in highly dependable products and deep expertise in high-volume semiconductor design combined with SigmaSense technology will accelerate game-changing sensing products,” said Rick Seger, CEO of SigmaSense, in a statement. “Our co-development with NXP marks the transition to a universe of new data-centric design options driven by software-defined sensing.”

With the invention of measuring current direct-to-digital, SigmaSense delivers low-voltage, frequency domain sensing, an industry first. Fast, continuous, high-fidelity data capture with intelligent digital signal processing moves analog challenges to the digital domain, where design flexibility can deliver orders of magnitude improvement.

SigmaSense is changing system designs from foldable displays to EV batteries.

SigmaSense has high-performance and low-power touch technology.
SigmaSense has high-performance and low-power touch technology.

Founded in 2016, SigmaSense invented a foundational technology that transforms the interactions between digital systems and the physical world, ushering in a new era of radically enhanced digital sensing. SigmaSense software-defined sensing achieves breakthrough levels of speed, accuracy, resolution, and noise immunity previously deemed impossible for sensing systems. The company has 70 people and it has raised $93 million to date.

Asked what the inspiration for the company was, Seger said in an email to GamesBeat, “The SigmaSense founders have deep roots in the touch and tablet industry with the pioneering companies Wacom and N-trig, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2015. In looking to the future horizon, the founders turned their attention to examining how to change sensing for the better across a number of markets. The vision included a particular interest in enabling superior pen and touch to serve education with the benefits of pervasive access to writing captured digitally. As it turned out the team’s R&D efforts delivered a step change improvement in the sensing system to serve new requirements for superior data from high-performance processing systems.”

Sensing through the noise, SigmaSense products increase the depth and quantity of data that can be captured from the physical world to enable exciting new experiences in a wide range of devices including mobile, automotive, battery sensing, digital signage, wearables, and all sizes of IoT touch displays. SigmaSense is funded by strategic investors, including NXP, Foxconn, LG-MRI, E ink, Corning, and GIS.

Asked about the significance of the tech, Seger said, “All systems are based on a cycle of sense, process, and react that forms the user experience. The key is how fast the cycle can occur with high-quality data. Today, the quality and speed of data extraction from the physical world is becoming as important, if not more important than processing performance. The extraction of deep, high-quality data opens new markets and accelerates innovation for HMI products. Significantly, the shift from fixed analog device sensing to software-defined sensing offers greater programmability and flexibility essential for innovation.”

Seger noted that examples include gameboards with 3D sensing, object recognition, and multiple player ID of who is touching at high-performance speeds. No amount of processing power can achieve the speed requirements of the sense, process, and react cycle if it cannot extract the sensed information at an equally high speed, he said.

He also said that, for batteries, the tech would create the ability to detect and avoid thermal runaway by measuring the impedance of the battery providing better-informed state of charge, and state of health information. And he said that we’ll see foldable mobile device experiences, with high performance and reliable touch with thinner materials, operation in the rain, and snow, and with gloves.

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