Sensor category

Broadcom AFBR-S50 ToF laser light sensor measures up to 10 meters

The AFBR – S50 is a multipixel distance and motion measurement sensor. It has an integrated 850nm vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) which uses a single voltage supply of 5V. It’s measurement rates are quick and as fast as 3 kHz, which is a distinguishing feature. However, this is not the reason why the AFBR – S50 stands out. It is different because unlike other Time of Flight (ToF) ranging sensors, the AFBR – S50 can measure up to 10 meters whereas similar sensors don’t get close to that.

The AFBR-S50

Furthermore, the sensor works on the principle of Optical Time of FlightTime-of-Flight principle (ToF) is a method for measuring the distance between a sensor and an object, based on the time difference between the emission of a signal and its return to the sensor, after being reflected by an object. If you have used the popular HC-SR05 Ultrasonic sensor, then you have seen this principle in action. The AFBR – S50 can be used both inside and outside to cover wide ranges of ambient light. It supports almost 3000 frames every second with an accuracy of less than one percent on diverse types of surfaces.

ToF Principle

The multi-pixel sensor works with up to 16 illuminated pixels out of 32 and with its best-in-class ambient light suppression of up to 200kLx, to ensure smooth usage outside. It uses SPI Interface to communicate with a host device. AFBR – S50 not only works outside but it is also equally effective on colored, white, black and metallic reflection objects.

Broadcom has released two different versions of the sensor:

  • AFBR-S50MV680B
    • 680nm laser light source.
    • One illuminated pixel
    • FOV (Field Of View) 1.55° x 1.55°
    • Single voltage – 5V supply
  • AFBR-S50MV85G
    • 850nm laser light source
    • 9-16 illuminated pixels
    • FOV 6.2° x 6.2°
    • Single voltage – 5V supply

Below are the General Specifications for the Multipixel sensor:

  • Integrated 850nm laser light source.
  • Between 9-16 illuminated pixels.
  • FOV 6.2°x 6.2° (1.55 x 1.55°/pixel).
  • High-speed measurement rates of up to 3 kHz.
  • Variable distance range up to 10m.
  • Operation up to 200k Lux ambient light.
  • Works well on all surface conditions.
  • SPI digital interface (up to 20 MHz).
  • Single voltage supply 5V.
  • Integrated clock source.
  • Laser Class 1.
  • Accuracy < 1 percent.
  • Drop-in compatible with the AFBR-S50 sensor platform

Applications for the ToF sensor can be found in areas of industrial sensing, gesture sensing, distance measurement, robotics, drones, automation, and control. The AFBR-S50 is available, but the price is currently undisclosed. You can contact Broadcom sales for more information. More details can be found on the product page, and the AFBR-S50 datasheet can be found here.

SGPC3 – Air Quality Sensor for Battery-Driven Applications

Sensirion, the expert in environmental sensing, now offers the ultra-lower power gas sensor SGPC3. The SGPC3 makes indoor air quality sensing available for mobile and battery-driven applications. With an average supply current of less than 0.07 mA the SGPC3 is able to provide indoor air quality measurements with several years of battery lifetime. Based on Sensirion’s SGP multi-pixel platform the SGPC3 offers a complete gas sensor system integrated into a very small 2.45 x 2.45 x 0.9 mm3 DFN package featuring I2C interface and a fully calibrated and humidity-compensated air quality output signal

Sensirion’s MOXSens® Technology provides the SGPC3 with an unmatched robustness against contamination by siloxanes resulting in outstanding long-term stability and accuracy. The combination of ultra-low power consumption and long-term stability makes the SGPC3 the perfect choice for indoor air quality monitoring in mobile and battery-driven smart home applications. Evaluation and testing is supported by application notes and example code; the SGP evaluation kits are also available through Sensirion’s distribution network.

Visit Sensirion’s website to see where you can order the SGPC3 gas sensor or to learn more about its specifications and features: www.sensirion.com

Discover more about the most relevant environmental parameters and Sensirion’s other innovative environmental sensor solutions at www.sensirion.com/environmental-sensing

Triaxis magnetic position sensor IC is ASIL-ready

Melexis’ next-generation monolithic magnetic sensor family, consisting of the MLX90371 and MLX90372, provides robust absolute position sensing for various applications. By Julien Happich @ eenewseurope.com:

Both devices consist of a Triaxis Hall magnetic front end, an analog to digital signal conditioner, a DSP for advanced signal processing and an output stage driver. Due to the Integrated Magneto Concentrator (IMC) they are sensitive to magnetic flux in three planes (X, Y & Z). This facilitates the decoding of the absolute rotary or linear position of any moving magnet, enabling the design of non-contact position sensors. The MLX90371 offers analog or PWM output while the MLX90372 offers SENT (SAE J2716 rev Apr 2016) or PWM output.

Triaxis magnetic position sensor IC is ASIL-ready – [Link]

HDC2010 – Low Power Humidity and Temperature Sensor

The HDC2010 is an integrated humidity and temperature sensor that provides high accuracy measurements with very low power consumption, in an ultra-compact WLCSP (Wafer Level Chip Scale Package). The sensing element of the HDC2010 is placed on the bottom part of the device, which makes the HDC2010 more robust against dirt, dust, and other environmental contaminants. The capacitive-based sensor includes new integrated digital features and a heating element to dissipate condensation and moisture. The HDC2010 digital features include programmable interrupt thresholds to provide alerts/system wakeups without requiring a microcontroller to be continuously monitoring the system. This, combined with programmable sampling intervals, low inherent power consumption, and support for 1.8V supply voltage, make the HDC2010 well suited for battery-operated systems.

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Acconeer 3D Pulsed Coherent Radar sensors

Acconeer’s A111 radar sensor is based on a unique patented technology enabling millimeter accuracy with very low power consumption

The Acconeer A111 is a low power, high precision 60 GHz pulsed SRD radar sensor with a footprint of 29 mm2, delivered in one chip system in package (SiP) solution with embedded RF and antenna. The small size and the low power consumption make it suitable for integration into any mobile or portable battery driven device.

The A111 radar sensor is based on a unique patented technology enabling millimeter accuracy with very low power consumption. The 60 GHz unlicensed ISM band provides robustness not compromised by any natural source of interference, such as noise, dust, color, direct or indirect light, and easy integration with no need of an aperture. The A111 radar sensor detects multiple objects at close range with single measurements as well as continuous sweeps set to any frequency rate up to 1500 Hz. Additionally, the unique characteristics of the radar sensor enable material recognition and motion detection for advanced sensing applications.

Features

  • Millimeter accuracy – distance mm accuracy for one or multiple objects
  • Movement and speed measurement – continuous measurements up to 1500 Hz
  • Material identification – distinguish between materials with different dielectric constant
  • Microwatt – enables integration into any battery driven device
  • Optimized integration – small one chip solution with embedded RF and antenna solution that requires no need for aperture
  • Robustness – not compromised by any natural source of interference, such as noise, dust, color, direct or indirect light
Researchersdeveloped a sensor to measure the internal termperature and electrode potential of lithum batterry

Newly Developed Internal Temperature Sensor For Li-ion Battery Enables 5x Faster Charging

Researchers at the University of Warwick in the UK have developed sensors which measure the internal temperature and electrode potential of Lithium batteries. The technology is being developed by the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) as a part of a battery’s normal operation. More intense testings have been done on standard commercially available automotive battery cells.

Researchersdeveloped a sensor to measure the internal termperature and electrode potential of lithum batterry
Researchers developed a sensor to measure the internal temperature and electrode potential of lithium battery

If a battery overheats it becomes a risk for critical damage to the electrolyte, breaking down to form gases that are both flammable and can cause significant pressure build-up inside the battery. On the other hand, overcharging of the anode can lead to Lithium electroplating, forming a metallic crystalline structure that can cause internal short circuits and fires. So, overcharging and overheating of a Li-ion battery is hugely damaging to the battery along with the user.

The researchers at Warwick developed miniature reference electrodes and Fiber Bragg Gratings (FBG) threaded through a strain protection layer. An outer coat of Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene (FEP) was applied over the fiber, ensuring chemical protection from the corrosive electrolyte. The end result is a sensor which has direct contact with all the key components of the battery. The sensor can withstand electrical, chemical and mechanical stress faced during the normal operation of the battery while still giving accurate temperature and potential readings of the electrodes.

The device includes an in-situ reference electrode coupled with an optical fiber temperature sensor. The researchers are confident that similar techniques can also be developed for use in pouch cells. WMG Associate Professor Dr. Rohit Bhagat said,

This method gave us a novel instrumentation design for use on commercial 18650 cells that minimizes the adverse and previously unavoidable alterations to the cell geometry,

The data from these internal sensors are much more precise than external sensing. This has been shown that with the help of these new sensors, Lithium batteries that are available today could be charged at least five times faster than the current rates of charging.

This could bring huge benefits to areas such as motor racing, gaining crucial benefits from being able to push the performance limits. This new technology also creates massive opportunities for consumers and energy storage providers.

Acconeer’s A111 – Pulsed Coherent Radar

Acconeer’s A111 radar sensor is based on a unique patented technology enabling mm accuracy with very low power consumption.

The Acconeer A111 is a low power, high precision 60 GHz pulsed SRD radar sensor with a footprint of 29 mm2, delivered in one chip system in package (SiP) solution with embedded RF and antenna. The small size and the low power consumption makes it suitable for integration into any mobile or portable battery driven device.

The A111 radar sensor is based on a unique patented technology enabling mm accuracy with very low power consumption. The 60 GHz unlicensed ISM band provides robustness not compromised by any natural source of interference such as noise, dust, color, direct or indirect light, and easy integration with no need of an aperture. The A111 radar sensor detects multiple objects at close range with single measurements as well as continuous sweeps set to any frequency rate up to 1500 Hz. Additionally, the unique characteristics of the radar sensor enables material recognition and motion detection for advanced sensing applications.

Features

  • mm Accuracy – distance mm accuracy for one or multiple objects
  • Movement and speed measurement – continuous measurements up to 1500 Hz
  • Material identification – distinguish between materials with different di-electric constant
  • Microwatt – enables integration into any battery driven device
  • Optimized integration – small one chip solution with embedded RF and antenna solution that requires no need for aperture
  • Robustness – not compromised by any natural source of interference such as noise, dust, color, direct or indirect light

Applications

  • Range measurements with high accuracy
  • Configurable measuring update frequency, up to 1500 Hz
  • Material identification. Possible to distinguish between different materials
  • Movement, speed measurement and object tracking e.g. gesture control, vital signs
  • Radar assisted camera for high performing lateral measurement i.e. Depth mapping, computational photography, assisted AF
  • Proximity sensing with high accuracy. Possibility to define multiple proximity zones
  • Radar assisted biometrics for enhanced security e.g. face recognition, human fingerprint recognition

VL53L1X Time-of-Flight (ToF) Long Distance Ranging Sensor

STMicroelectronics’ VL53L1X is a state-of-the-art ToF laser-ranging sensor, enhancing the ST FlightSense product family. It is the fastest miniature ToF sensor currently on the market with accurate ranging up to 4 m and fast ranging frequency (up to 100 Hz). Housed in a miniature and reflowable package, it integrates a single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) receiving array, a 940 nm invisible laser Class 1 emitter, and optics to achieve the best ranging performance in various ambient lighting conditions.

It is easy to integrate into devices, allowing creative ID since it can be hidden behind various cover window materials and colors. Unlike conventional IR sensors, the VL53L1X uses ST’s latest generation ToF technology which allows absolute distance measurement whatever the target color and reflectance. It is also possible to program the size of the ROI on the receiving array, allowing to reduce the sensor FoV.

Applications

  • Long distance and accurate ranging up to 4 meters
  • High speed ranging frequency (up to 100 Hz)
  • Very small package for easy integration (single module combining laser emitter, SPAD receiving array, and microcontroller in a reflowable package)
  • Can be hidden behind various cover window material and colors (creative ID)
  • Not affected by target reflectance, material and color, unlike traditional IR proximity sensors
SocioNext-MN87900

SocioNext MN87900 is a Single-Chip 24 GHz Radio Wave Sensor for the Internet of Things

The Socionext MN87900 from Socionext is a powerful and low-power single-chip microwave sensor at 24GHz with sophisticated sensing capabilities like motion detection, speed and direction detection and so many, that can quickly find applications in the Internet of Things sensing applications.

Socionext MN87900

Unlike PIR sensors like the popular HR-SR501 that can detect motion to about 3 meters at about 120 angles and based on the concept of detecting infrared energy emitted by an object while attempting to determine if it’s a motion or not, the Socionext MN87900 is a microwave sensor that sends out microwave signals and detects the bounce back signals to decide if it’s a motion or not. Microwave sensor uses what we call the Doppler’s Effect concept.

SocioNext MN87900 is a 24 GHz and very tiny, measures about 12mm x 7mm x 1mm making it ideal for the small size requirement in the most Internet of Things application and other applications in the areas of smart-home, automotive or driver assistance systems, medical applications, and many more. Based on a single-chip radio frequency IC (RFIC) that offers a multi-mode sensing capability for detecting stationary or moving objects and measuring the distance and direction of movement, including whether an object is approaching or leaving. This multi-mode sensor capability gives the device ability to re-adapt its functionality to different case scenario without making any single hardware changes.

The RFIC can be used to sense very slow movements (like breathing and heartbeats), and even detect the movement of multiple objects within a 160-degree radius to a distance of about 8 meters away. With slight modification, the RFIC can reach a range of up to 30 meters.

Apart from having powerful sensing capabilities, it is also power friendly. During continuous operation, the sensor can take up to 500mW, but this can be reduced to an intermittent operation where for example, during a one-sixth burst, the sensor can take about 80mW, a very drastic reduction in power. The MN87900 can pass through fabric or resin like materials, and unlike camera-based people detecting applications, the MN87900 doesn’t need to capture or display images to identify people or objects which is handy for privacy-concerned applications.

The MN87900 supports SPI as a form of interface to microcontroller system. Along with the hardware, a simple API system was developed to support the designs of CW, FSKCW, and FMCW mode capabilities to provide distance, direction, and relative velocity.

The following are the SocioNext MN87900 key specifications:

  • Sensing Modes – CW, FSKCW, FMCW (moving or stationary)
  • Detection
    • Motion direction – approaching or leaving
    • Motion speed – up to 200 km/h
    • Range – 0.15 to 8 meters 80°@-3dB, expandable to 30 meters
  • Variable frequency width –  24.15±0.1 GHz
  • Host Interface – SPI
  • High sensitivity – -110dBm
  • Transmission Power: 0.8mW
  • Fast frequency pull-in: 100 µs
  • Automatic adjustment: Built-in initial adjustment function (e.g. adjustment of RC filtering)
  • Power supply voltage: 2.5V
  • Current consumption: 200mA
  • Module size: 12mm x 7mm x 1mm
  • Weight – 145 mg
  • Temperature Range – -40°C to 85°C

The module pricing is currently not available, and more information about the product can be found here.

Bosch BMA400 – Did you thought accelerometers couldn’t get any better?

Accelerometers are used in almost all fields, and they have been growing in popularity in IoT and wearables. Nowadays, those devices require a of energy, and because of this, they need to be constantly charged or batteries need to be constantly changed which causes users to lose interest, or to be limited by this problem. Size might be a problem too because some MEMs (micromechanical systems) acceleration sensors are too big to be implemented in everyday portable objects. In June 2018, Bosch will unveil their BMA400, a sensor that extends battery life and has a huge range of capabilities in a small size.

BMA400 is capable of measuring tilt, orientation, tap/double tap, and step counting (with activity recognition) using a low- noise measurement of accelerations in three perpendicular axes. Additionally, the device only uses 10% of the energy current comparable devices use which makes it useful for applications where charging is impossible. For example, this device could be used for package tracking over long distances, saving power by putting itself on sleep mode until something happens (the package is mishandled) which could compromise the quality of the product inside the package.

Other applications include home automation (automatic air conditioning that considers status (open or closed) of windows and doors), security (burglar detection), and sports. The BMA400 includes an activity detection function that can differentiate between walking, running, and standing. All this could be applied into wearables, and because of its size it could be a game changer in hybrid smartwatches (traditional watch with added smarts in a discrete way).

BMA400 measure only 2 mm x 2 mm x 0.95 mm, and device data can be retrieved over longer intervals (FIFO buffer of 1kB). Other specifications include:

  • 12-bit digital resolution
  • Output data rate (ODR) of 12.5 Hz to 800 Hz
  • Supply voltage of 1.71 V up to 3.6 V

Complete list of specifications can be found in the official website.

This improvements in an already widely used technology could result in advances in thousands of different devices, and in the implementation of this sensor in devices where it couldn’t be fitted before. Improving battery means improving product usability which results in happy users who can now use their device for longer periods of time. Also, makers and hobbyists could now apply this technology to new devices using the increased battery life as an advantage.

 

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