Angle Sensing with Circular Vertical Hall Technology

Angle sensing has always been challenging particularly in industrial and automotive environment because of the need for precise and accurate sensing at high speeds. Allegro Microsystems developed the A1330 an integrated circuit angle sensor that works based on magnetic Circular Vertical Hall (CVH) technology. Unlike other angle sensors Allegro’s A1330 does not require a concentrator or a complex packaging assembly which results in lower costs.

The A1330 SoC (system on chip) include a CHV front end, digital processing, and analog output driver, and an on-chip EEPROM technology that allows up to 100 read/write cycles. This allows customer to program and calibrate parameters easily. Additionally, it has adjustable internal averaging that allows respond time to be traded for resolution. On the other hand, with averaging not enabled A1330 provides fast analog response time.

All the characteristic mentioned above makes the sensor ideal for low rotational velocities with high precision. The fact that angle scaling can be programmed allows for easy detection of mechanical failures by selecting minimum and maximum angle values that when surpassed might mean a problem.

In automotive industry hall sensors are used for fuel level, brake and clutch pedal switches, electronic parking brakes and much more. The advantage that the A1330 offers is higher immunity to parasitic fields and it can support higher target magnetic field levels (since it measures phase not amplitude). Also, it offers better temperature drifts performance which is an advantage in automotive industry where temperatures can get high. Its operational voltage is 3 V and its magnetic sensing is parallel to surface of the package, it has a current regulator for two wire operation, and a reverse battery and overvoltage protection. The package is lead free and A1330 is available as either single- or dual die option in a 8 pin TSSOP standard packaging. All the complete specifications can be found in Allegro´s website.

It is a 360˚ sensor that has ground breaking CVH technology for accurate measuring. The CVH technology is unique to Allegro which is a competitive advantage in price and accuracy. It was mainly created for industrial purposes since its precision might be too much for personal purposes. Information about prices, distributors, and availability can be found on Allegro´s official website.

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Sino: bit – Changing Programming for Kids All Over the World

Creating projects with Arduino can be challenging for kids, this may cause children to lose interest in electronics and DIY projects. The most complicated part is usually the connections required to use a sensor, led matrix or other devices that can be connected to the Arduino (or other microcontrollers). Since all these devices are different and have different types of connections which need to be made in a certain way, electronic projects may get boring or too complicated for a kid to learn. If the objective is to teach a kid how to code without the extra complication of cables, then the Sino: bit is the perfect choice.

Sino: bit is a microcontroller designed for teaching computer education in China created by Naomi Wu a DIY enthusiast. It is based on Calliope mini and can be programmed with Arduino IDE. It includes a 12×12 LED matrix, accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth, buttons, a micro USB for programming, temperature sensor and a JST 3v battery connector. The battery connector was included to run projects without the need to be connected to the computer at all times.

Usually, when learning how to program kids are taught “hello world” which is a simple code that displays the same message. The 12x 12 LED matrix has that size not only to allow kids to play with a huge number of LEDs, but also to allow kids from every nation to do and understand their hello world. This was a problem because Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and other languages contain characters that cannot be displayed in a small matrix.

It’s the first to obtain the OSHWA (open source hardware association) certification in China which is an association in charge of making the task of identifying and marketing open source hardware products clearer and more transparent.

With a simple installation procedure, codes such as blink can start to work, and children all over the world would be able to experience “hello world” in their own language which will bring opportunities and open doors for non-English speaking kids. With all the sensors and options that it offers projects can be as simple as playing with LEDs and as complex as communicating with an external app to send information about the sensors. With the use of Sino: bit not only programming will be more inclusive, but also more code focused because instead of spending a lot of time thinking about connections kids can test their projects faster and with less room for errors.

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@Ricoh RP604 300 mA Buck-Boost #DCDC Converter for #IoT applications

This product is in particular suitable in case a supply voltage is required which is somewhere in between the voltage level of a fully charged and fully discharged battery. At a certain moment the DC/DC Converter needs to switch over from Buck to Boost mode automatically. The RP604 is designed for IoT applications which are mainly in a sleep mode and wake-up periodically to perform a measurement, transmit some data and resume to sleep mode again. For such kind of applications, the current consumption in sleep mode should be kept as low as possible. The RP604 consumes only 0.3 µA and has a peak efficiency of 90% at 0.1 mA output current.

The Little Buddy Talker – Arduino Compatible Speech Chip Set

Small, versatile, fun, and inexpensive! Use the 254 word library to bring speech to your Arduino projects! Speak, Arduino, Speak!

About a year ago, I designed an Arduino shield that allowed for you to add voice to your electronic designs.  I’ve since been able to minimise that design into a much less inexpensive, and smaller unit.  This unit has a 254 word library that consists of colours, commands, months/days/time, numbers, directions, feelings, units of measurement, security words, math lingo, and general words; all of which are spoken by “Lucy” – A lovely female voice with an English accent! Meet “The Little Buddy Talker” Arduino compatible speech kit set!  It is Production Ready, and eager to land in your hands!

The project is live on kickstarter and has 29 days to go.

Micro-spectrometer Sensor Will Let You Check Air Quality Or Blood Sugar – Using Smartphone

Now you can use your smartphone to check how clean the air is, measure the freshness of food or even the level of your blood sugar. This has never been so easy. All credit goes to the new spectrometer sensor which is developed at the Eindhoven University of Technology and can be easily attached to a mobile phone. The little sensor is just as precise as the normal tabletop models used in scientific labs. The researchers published their invention on 20th December in the popular journal Nature Communications.

The blue perforated slab is the upper membrane, with the photonic crystal cavity in the middle
Spectrometer sensor construction: The blue perforated slab is the upper membrane, with the photonic crystal cavity in the middle

Spectrometry is the analysis of the light spectrum. It has an enormous range of applications. Every organic and inorganic substance has its own unique ‘footprint‘ in terms of light absorption and reflection. Thus it can be recognized by spectrometry. But precise spectrometers are bulky and costly since they split up the light into different colors (frequencies), which are then measured separately.

The intelligent sensor developed by Eindhoven researchers is able to make such accurate measurements in an entirely different way. It uses a special photonic crystal cavity that acts as a ‘trap’ of just a few micrometers into which the light falls and cannot escape. This trap is situated in a membrane. In the membrane, the captured light generates a tiny electrical current which can be measured accurately. The accurate working cavity design is made by Žarko Zobenica, a doctoral candidate.

The sensor can measure only a narrow range of light frequencies. To increase the frequency range, the researchers placed two of these membranes above each other closely. The two membranes affect each other. Changing the separation gap between them by a tiny amount also changes the light frequency that the sensor recognizes. To understand this the researchers, supervised by professor Andrea Fiore and associate professor Rob van der Heijden, included a MEMS or micro-electromechanical system.

This mechanism can change the measured frequency by changing the separation between the membranes. In this way, the sensor is able to cover a range of about thirty nanometers. Within which the spectrometer can recognize some hundred thousand frequencies with an exceptional precision. The research team demonstrated several applications like an extremely precise motion sensor and a gas sensor. All made possible by the clever use of the tiny membranes.

As per Professor Fiore‘s expectations, it will take another five years or more before the new spectrometer actually gets into a Smartphone. The main difficulty at this moment is the frequency range covered is still too small. It covers only a few percent of the most common spectrum, the near-infrared.

Given the huge potential and the wide field of applications, micro-spectrometers can become just as important as the camera in the smartphones of future.

XMOS VocalFusion- Background Noise Not a Problem Anymore

The XMOS VocalFusion XVF3500 voice processor, to be shown at CES. Source: XMOS

 

XMOS is one of the many companies that has ventured in voice recognition technology. They created the VocalFusion XVF3500 device, the first voice processor to have true stereo-AEC support in a far-field linear microphone array solution. Voice recognition is a relatively new technology for consumers which we came to know with Siri, google home, Alexa etc. However, this technology has been developed since 1950s with a very limited understanding of numbers. Nowadays, voice recognition software can answer all kind of questions, perform activities (such as calls, notes and web searches), and even answer to sarcastic questions. Experts predict that 50 % of all web searches will be made using voice by 2020.

Voice recognition is not only about not using keyboards, but also about security and usability. Thanks to software such as Siri people can now make phone calls in the car without even looking at their phone, play music and send messages. The biggest problem is accuracy specially when dealing with accents which the voice software may not be able to comprehend.

Speech recognition works by analyzing the sound, filtering what you say and digitalizing it into a form that the computer can read, and then analyzing it for meaning. It has become increasingly complex to program this kind of software because of language, dialects, accents, and phrasing. Also, background noise can easily throw off the interpretation of your speech.

At CES 2018, XMOS plans to display their new XVF3500 voice processor alongside the VocalFusion 4-Mic Dev Kit, which was the first far-field linear array solution to achieve Amazon AVS (Alexa voice service) qualification, delivering easy integration of Amazon Alexa into commercial and industrial electronics. The kit is based on the VocalFusion XVF3000 device which provides acoustic echo cancellation and advanced noise suppression. This will allow developers to build Alexa enabled products which will accelerate it’s deployment in new systems and new devices giving customers the ability to access Alexa from more places.

The development kit includes the XVF3000 voice processor, I2S serial audio and I2C serial control interfaces, cables, xTAG debug adapter and much more. It enables across the room voice interface solutions which are then processed by cloud based recognition software even in places with complex acoustics and noisy environments. This could help solve the background noise issues allowing a more accurate interpretation and an improved user experience.

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70W soldering iron controller

smdprutser.nl build a soldering iron controller based on PIC16F1823:

In series thermocouple soldering iron have a thermocouple in series with their heating element and thus only have two connections (actually one more which is electrically connected to the tip for ESD purposes). When a voltage is applied to the two terminals the tip heats, when unpowered the thermocouple voltage can be read.

70W soldering iron controller – [Link]

60V input 5V @3A output DC-DC Converter for Industrial and Automotive

This is a 60 V 3A step down DC-DC converter. Sample applications are: 12 V, 24 V and 48 V Industrial, Automotive and Communications Power Systems. The TPS54360 is a 60 V, 3 A, step down regulator with an integrated high side MOSFET. The device survives load dump pulses up to 65V per ISO 7637. Current mode control provides simple external compensation and flexible component selection. A low ripple pulse skip mode reduces the no load supply current to 146 μA. Shutdown supply current is reduced to 2 μA when the enable pin is pulled low. Under voltage lockout is internally set at 4.3 V but can be increased using the enable pin. The output voltage start up ramp is internally controlled to provide a controlled start up and eliminate overshoot. A wide switching frequency range allows either efficiency or external component size to be optimized. Frequency fold back and thermal shutdown protects internal and external components during an overload condition.

60V input 5V @3A output DC-DC Converter for Industrial and Automotive – [Link]

MediaTek Sensio, is a 6-in-1 biosensor module for smartphones

Smartphones in recent times have contributed to the growth of the medical sensing industries with a major success in the usage of a smartphone camera and flash to detect heart rate. Specialized Apps installed on the phone can use the phone inbuilt camera and flash to read an individual heart rate with high accuracy but nothing else in the space of health monitoring. Sensio is a biosensor that will allow smartphones to track six different health metrics, a big game changer in the smartphone and medical industry.

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The Taiwan-based mobile chipset maker MediaTek has recently introduced MediaTek Sensio, the Industry’s first 6-in-1 biosensor that will turn smartphones into a personal health companion. Sensio will come as an embedded module for smartphones which make it possible to easily check and monitor one’s physical wellness.

The MediaTek Sensio MT6381 will allow smartphones to track a user’s heart rate, blood-pressure, heart-rate variability, peripheral capillary oxygen saturation, ECG (Electrocardiography) and photoplethysmography (PPG). It works using an integration of hardware and software in order to measure all these health data in about 60 seconds, as claimed by MediaTek. The company will have an app that can track all of this data and have it accessible to the user and also stored in the cloud.

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The MediaTek Sensio module uses a combination of LEDs (light emitting diodes) and a light-sensitive sensor to measure the variations in red and infrared light from the user’s fingertips. The module is able to measure the ECG and PPG levels by creating a closed loop between the user’s heart and the biosensor which is made possible when the user touches the electrical sensors and electrodes on the device.

The following are the features of the MediaTek Sensio:

  • Heart Rate – Measures heart beats per minute.
  • Heart Rate Variability – Measures variation in the time between heartbeats.
  • Blood Pressure Trends – Measures blood pressure trends to help users see data over a period of time.
  • Peripheral Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) – Measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Electrocardiography (ECG) – Measures the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time and displays it in graph form.
  • Photoplethysmography (PPG) – Measures the change in volume of blood.

The MediaTek Sensio module includes the following:

  • Integrated R and IR LEDs for reflective PPG measurement + 1 -channel ECG analog front -end.
  • Compact 6.8 mm x 4.93 mm x 1.2 mm OLGA 22-pin package.
  • Total External BOM: 4caps + 2 electrodes
  • I2C / SPI digital interface.

“Giving people the power to access their health information with a smartphone is a major step in making the world a healthier place,” said Dr Yenchi Lee, Sr. Director of Product Marketing for MediaTek’s wireless business. The MediaTek Sensio is expected to be available beginning in early 2018.

Scientists Design A Two Stage Patch For Blood Glucose Testing Without Pricking The Skin

A team of researchers from Tsinghua University in cooperation with People’s Liberation Army Air Force General Hospital, China, has produced a two-stage patch to test the blood glucose levels. They published their research paper on the open access site Science Advances. In the paper, the group describes their patch system and how it succeeds in a small sample test with volunteer human patients.

Biosensor attached to the skin for measuring blood glucose level
Biosensor attached to the skin for measuring blood glucose level

In this new effort, the researchers of Tsinghua University sought to make life a little easier for people living with diabetes by developing an easier way to test their glucose levels. Now they can easily monitor their own blood glucose level and maintain their diet accordingly.

For most diabetics, the conventional method was to check their glucose levels by using a small device that pricks the skin just enough to draw a very tiny amount of blood, usually from a fingertip. A drop of blood is then squeezed onto a test strip inserted into a glucose monitoring device, which then shows a reading. This painful and prone to infection process often causes many diabetics to stop testing their blood glucose level, hence putting themselves at higher risk.

Schematic diagram of non-invasive blood glucose moniroring
Schematic diagram of non-invasive blood glucose monitoring

In this new procedure, the researchers introduced a two-stage, non-invasive method to accomplish the same result. The first stage consists of placing a small amount of Hyaluronic acid, a component frequently found in skincare products, on the skin and then pressing a paper battery on the same area. The battery pushes the acid to make its way into the skin. Then the acid induces a change in osmotic pressure in the subcutaneous fluid. That forces glucose back upwards toward the outer surface of the skin. After 20 minutes, the battery is removed and the second stage takes place. A 3μm thick, five-layer biosensor is attached to the same place of the skin. It looks like a Band-Aid with a square of gold foil on its center. The biosensor can be read by standard lab equipment.

A clinical trial of their device on a woman with diabetes and two other non-diabetic patients at the hospital showed that results were nearly as good as standard lab equipment without causing any discomfort to the volunteers. In the following video, the researchers explain how it works: