Pyreos, a spin-off of Siemens which makes extremely efficient infrared sensors using semiconductor manufacturing techniques, has raised $4 million in venture capital to expand globally.

Smartphone and tablet manufacturers buy the company’s sensors to enable features such as gestures, presence detection, and wake‐up functions, and the sensors can also be used in PCs, TVs, docking stations, and other consumer applications.

Pyreos, which says it now has multiple global licensing deals from OEMs who are using its technology, raised the $4 million for international expansion from Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Seraphim Capital, Siemens Technology Accelerator, and the Scottish Investment Bank.

IR sensor

Above: IR sensor

Image Credit: Pyreos

“Reducing power consumption by the magnitude achieved by Pyreos creates massive potential in mobile and handheld applications across both consumer and industrial markets,” Claus Schmidt of Bosch said. “The new investment will fund growth in the team to enlarge its already established international customer base.”

Pyreos’ gesture and proximity sensor products use just micro‐watts of power, the company says, which makes them several orders of magnitude more energy efficient than competing technologies.

There’s also an industrial application:

Supporting the continued success in consumer electronics, the Pyreos technology has established itself as a leader in the industrial gas and flames sensor market and it has a significant position in the emerging portable handheld spectroscopy market. Pyreos’ small, battery‐powered device provides rapid, accurate analysis of solids or liquids wherever and whenever required.

The company CTO and founder, Carsten Biebeler, was previously the venture manager for the Siemens Technology Accelerator. Pyreos is based in Edinburgh, UK, and has previous investments from Mitsubishi.