SystemX Seminar

Millimeter-Wave Sensors Using Ultrasound
Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
AllenX Auditorium
Dr Sam Sheng (Sentons)
Abstract / Description: 

One of the long-standing challenges in the RF community has been the creation of inexpensive millimeter-wave sensors, primarily due to the need for extremely high frequencies (typically in excess of 60-100 GHz). By switching from electromagnetic waves to ultrasound, the wave velocity and associated frequencies decrease by five orders of magnitude, hence allowing the creation of inexpensive CMOS-based sensor ASIC's employing sonar-like techniques to achieve extremely high accuracy sensors.

We show the application of such an ultrasound sensor to the problem of multitouch and force sensing, demonstrating the ability to sense multiple fingers and per-finger force/pressure levels. Unlike conventional capacitive touch sensors, an ultrasound-based sensor is not restricted to planar glass surfaces; it can sense equally well on complex curved surfaces, as well as metal or plastic substrates.


Samuel Sheng co-founded Sentons in 2011 and is responsible for developing and expanding Sentons' core technology platforms. Dr. Sheng has extensive experience in architecting and designing leading-edge CMOS RF and DSP ASIC's for silicon tuners, ADSL transceivers, and touch sensors. Prior to Sentons, Dr. Sheng was co-founder and CTO at Telegent Systems, which was acquired by Spreadtrum Communications in 2011, as well as serving in engineering leadership roles at LSI Corporation and DataPath Systems Inc.

Dr. Sheng has authored numerous papers and publications on various topics such as low-power CMOS RF wireless systems and low-power CMOS digital design, and has been awarded numerous patents in the areas of RF tuners, DSL modems, and ultrasonic touch sensors. He holds a BA degree in applied mathematics and BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering, all from the University of California, Berkeley. In his spare time, he climbs rocks, which is not unlike his day job.