Sensors

EDN Staff

This site that gives a sense of what’s happening in the world of sensor technology and helps designers to stay current with new trends, good technological ideas, novel materials, and products. Optimum and robust design ideas combined with innovative techniques showing how-to-interface and condition sensor outputs are some of the areas explored. Mathematical aspects of sensor accuracy, temperature, and linearization tracking and correction are some of the many and varied areas to be explored.

LTC Design Note: Precision op-amp enables fast multiplexing at low power

A multiplexed DAQ design presents some subtle challenges, and parts selection plays a crucial role. Read More...

Intelligent sensors used for pollution detection

A proposed sensor system detects ocean pollution and can help prevent it from spreading. Read More...

Designing for low-noise feedback control with MEMS gyroscopes

MEMS gyroscopes offer a simple way to measure angular rate of rotation in packages that easily attach to PCBs, so they are a popular choice to serve as the feedback sensing element in many different types of motion control systems. Read More...

SiP package styles for magnetic position sensors have benefits for automotive applications

This article examines the case for using a complete MPOS system produced as a system-in-package, thus relieving the automotive supplier of the need to produce a PCB assembly when implementing magnetic position sensing. Read More...

What are the most useful sensors?

Sensors are how we translate the real world into something we can manipulate electronically. We’ve all used them, but which kind is your favorite? Read More...

Sensor solution defines light

The MTCS-CDCAF color sensor is a fully integrated sensor chip, the first to include a true-color filter function, integrated signal amplification based on charge-to-digital conversion, and an on-chip temperature sensor. Read More...

Optical sensor ignores ambient noise to detect the spoken word

Using proprietary interferometry techniques, VocalZoom’s HMC sensor converts voice-derived facial vibrations to digital for voice recognition, command, and control, and ambient noise elimination for headsets and handsets. Read More...

Rethink the button: An inductive-sensing approach

This article covers the fundamentals of ToM technology using an inductance-to-digital converter (LDC) and provides guidance for constructing ToM buttons using metal panels commonly found in applications such as consumer electronics and appliances. Read More...

Former Agilent engineers developing a wireless oscilloscope

Design will use Bluetooth Low Energy to connect to an iPhone or iPad. Read More...

Implementing Bluetooth Smart modules in industrial IoT applications

Bluetooth Smart technology is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to implement IoT. Read More...

Analyze current with a dedicated instrument

Keysight's CX3300 lets you view current waveforms from 150 pA to 10 A, with oscilloscope-like features. Read More...

Wearable/wristwatch FPGA devkit

Lattice Semiconductor's iCE40 Ultra is a low-power platform in compact wrist watch form factor that supports multiple wearable applications. Read More...

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Software PLL syncs to line using moving-average filter

A software PLL with a jitter attenuator lends itself to AC-line filtering and many other applications. Read More...

Avago Tech Note: Strain sensing using optical phase interrogation technique with polymer optical fiber

Optical phase interrogation with polymer fiber offers an easy to handle and integrate strain sensing solution. Read More...

Rotational (or linear) measurement using an optical mouse sensor

A novel way to measure X-Y or rotational speed or position is presented in this Design Idea. Read More...

Antilog converter linearizes carbon dioxide sensor

Simplify gas sensor interface with some analog preprocessing. Read More...

Circuit discriminates & recovers noisy pulses

Noisy pulse trains with widely-varying amplitude are recovered with this DI circuit. Think transducers… Read More...

Inductively sense workpieces of any material

Create an inductive switch using the LDC1000 to replace mechanical switches in dirty environments. Read More...

Ferromagnetic soldering iron control

Utilize a basic materials property to sense and control soldering iron temperature. Read More...

Construction metal imager

Build up an image of inductively sensed, hidden metal using the software equivalent of a long time exposure! Read More...

Elastomer-assisted inductive sensing

Embedding inductive coils under an off-the-shelf mattress pad creates a multi-point position and pressure sensing system for sleep-posture analysis. Robotic applications also beckon. Read More...

Seismometer and structural vibration meter

Use a TI LDC1000 as a sub-micron displacement sensor for vibration measurement and logging in seismic and structural mechanics applications. Read More...

Beehive scale uses inductive sensing

A spring scale for measuring honey production senses weight inductively. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Measure RH with instrumentation-grade system monitor

An accurate, modern system monitor chip senses humidity the old-fashioned way. Read More...

Inductively sense aircraft engine valve position

Aircraft engine designers are conservative by nature, but here's a way to improve performance anyway. Read More...

Music keyboard inductively senses position & velocity

Technologies to measure key position, pressure, and velocity go back almost a century. Now, an inductive sensing IC offers another solution. Read More...

Thermowell vibration monitor

Use TI's unique inductance-to-digital converter to sense potentially dangerous vibration in thermowell sensors. Read More...

Bed levelling for 3D printer

3rd prize winner in the TI LDC1000 design contest. Read More...

Linearize thermistors with new formula

Optimize thermistor performance at any preferred temperature. Read More...

Measure two resistive sensors or multiple switches with a single Schmitt

When an ADC is overkill, you can monitor two sensors or several contacts for every Schmitt trigger. Read More...

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Automotive position sensors are safety-compliant

Magnetic angular position sensors from ams, the AS5170 and AS5171 meet the ISO 26262 functional safety standard for road vehicles. Read More...

Current sensors reject common-mode fields

Allegro’s 5-V ACS724KMA and 3.3-V ACS725KMA ICs perform AC or DC current sensing in systems that require very high-voltage isolation. Read More...

Magnetic sensor fits mobile devices

The MMC3630KJ magnetometer from MEMSIC integrates a 3-axis AMR sensor and a signal conditioning ASIC into a 1.2×1.2×0.5-mm BGA package. Read More...

Data logger teams with GSM terminal

Engineers can permanently record temperature, humidity, and pressure at remote sites with the MSR385WD data logger from MSR Electronics. Read More...

Press-fit reed sensor installs quickly

A Firecracker reed sensor with retaining ribs on the capsule, the 59040 from Littelfuse requires no attachment accessories for installation. Read More...

Tiny sensor hones temperature accuracy

Housed in a small 8-pin DFN package, the STS31 digital temperature sensor from Sensirion guarantees accuracy to within ±0.3°C. Read More...

MEMS sensors empower smart phones

Low-power 6-axis inertial modules from STMicroelectronics, the LSM6DSL and LSM6DSM, pack a 3-D digital accelerometer and gyroscope. Read More...

Position sensor is environmentally robust

By employing the Hall effect, the WM-830 rotary position sensor from Curtiss-Wright is able to perform accurate angular-position measurement. Read More...

Tiny sensor measures differential pressure

With dimensions of just 5×8×5-mm, the SDP3x differential pressure sensor from Sensirion opens up countless new application possibilities. Read More...

Candlestick sensor monitors thermal conditions

Offered in three heights, candlestick-style sensors from ATS simultaneously measure air temperature and velocity inside electronic systems. Read More...

MEMS sensors measure pitch and roll

MEMSIC launches the MTLT series of tilt and inclination sensors, providing accurate pitch and roll information over ±90° and ±180° ranges. Read More...

Ambient-light sensor conserves space in handhelds

Vishay’s miniature VEML7700 digital ambient-light sensor achieves ambient-light spectral sensitivity close to that of the human eye. Read More...

½-in. mic allows low-noise measurements

With the Model 378A04 ½-in. microphone and preamp system from PCB Piezotronics, engineers can measure low sound pressure levels to 6.5 dBA. Read More...

Subsea position sensor is CiA 443-compliant

Outfitted with a CANopen interface, Macro Sensors’ SSBR-937 submersible LVDT position sensor operates at pressures up to 5000 psig. Read More...

Long-range position sensor is rad-hard

Intended for operation in harsh environments, the NCG-1-AL-UHV position sensor from Queensgate has a measurement range of up to 11,000 µm. Read More...

Sensor board promotes 96Boards CE

STMicroelectronics’ B-F446E-96B01A board simplifies the development of context-aware smart mobile, embedded, and digital-home devices. Read More...

Mini sensor touts fast laser-assisted autofocus

STMicroelectronics’ FlightSense VL53L0 time-of-flight sensor brings improved autofocus to smart phones, robotic equipment, and IoT devices. Read More...

Mini displacement sensors need little room

Inelta IZAL series inductive displacement sensors fit into highly confined spaces for use in medical, industrial, and military applications. Read More...

Accelerometers tout embedded intelligence

Bosch Sensortec’s BMA422 and BMA455 intelligent three-axis accelerometers improve user experience in smart phones and wearable devices. Read More...

Low power pedestrian navigation IC works where GPS signals are weak or missing

Announced ahead of CES 2016, the industry’s first coprocessor for wearables provides truly accurate and ultra-low power pedestrian tracking indoors, as well as in urban canyons. Read More...

Measure frequency response on an oscilloscope

Through signal processing, you can use an oscilloscope to transform a signal captured in the time domain and display it in the frequency domain. Read More...

LoRa sensor network collects volcanic data

Semtech announced that its LoRa-based long-range wireless sensor network will be used to monitor active volcanoes 24/7 in Japan. Read More...

Digital gauge accepts Type K thermocouple input

Packaged in a round housing with a 52-mm OD, the DPG-SD-1 digital temperature gauge from The Sensor Connection withstands harsh environments. Read More...

XMetrics taps ST to create swim monitor

Tiny motion-sensing and data-processing chips from STMicroelectronics form the heart of XMetrics’ activity tracker for swimmers. Read More...

9-axis motion sensor and MCU reside in tiny package

Bosch Sensortec’s BMF055 sensor combines an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer with a 32-bit MCU to enable easy programming. Read More...

LabVIEW 2015 makes productivity enhancements

National Instruments has made a long list of small enhancements that improve productivity when writing graphical code. Read More...

Interface IC calibrates sensor outputs

A 16:1 sensor-interface analog front-end IC, the XR10910 from Exar, connects multiple sensors and simplifies sensor conditioning. Read More...

Bluetooth temperature sensor works with smart phones

Based on the µBlue nRF8001 Bluetooth V4.0 low energy connectivity IC from Nordic Semiconductor, a temperature-sensing device from National Electronics & Watch Co. (NEWCO) enables low-cost temperature monitoring using a Bluetooth V4.0-compatible smart phone. Read More...

$49 Arduino-compatible board features enhanced Cortex M7 MCU

STMicro's Arduino-compatible STM32F7 Discovery Kit is an exciting development for DIY-ers interested in IoT applications. Read More...

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Teardown: Amazon's Echo voice-activated virtual assistant

Take a look inside Amazon’s Echo to see the PCBs and components that make the virtual assistant work. Read More...

Teardown: Bluetooth audio dongle keeps it simple

Stereo Bluetooth audio streaming support can easily and inexpensively be added to many systems via an external adapter such as the one analyzed in this teardown. Read More...

Teardown: Motion-sensing LED lighting

An AC power source and motion-sensor activation combine to create some notable design differences between this LED light and its battery-powered, touch-operated Enbrighten sibling. Read More...

Teardown: Moto 360’s shape forces design compromises

Ongoing software enhancements are fairly effective in keeping the Moto 360's hardware current, but Motorola's circular form factor decision, while cosmetically preferable to many, also compelled some compromises in the design of the smart watch. Read More...

Thermometer measures temperature without contact

The Melexis infrared thermometer makes it safe to measure the surface temperatures of hot, hazardous, or hard-to-reach objects without having to physically touch them. Read More...

Teardown: Misfit Shine 2 and the art of power management

At DesignCon 2016, the Misfit Shine 2 Fitness + Sleep monitor went under the knife, exposing the latest in low-power technology, processes, and power management techniques. Read More...

Teardown: Wireless weather sensor transmitters

Out-of-box failure and a residence transition provided the analysis subjects for the last article in this series of weather station teardowns. Read More...

Christmas toys: Paper Jamz guitar relies on printed electrodes and connectors

Pry inside a toy electronic guitar that provides a surprisingly good approximation of an electric guitar. Read More...

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6 sensor-rich devices to augment reality

Augmented reality and virtual reality are about to explode. Take a look at five popular AR/VR devices and the types of sensors driving them. Read More...

Fiber optic sensing: The past, present, and exciting future

Here’s a look at fiber optic sensing from its line-of-sight days all the way to what to expect in the future. Included is a discussion are such recent advances as 3D shape sensing and optical frequency domain reflectometry. Read More...

Temperature sensors are improving, but select carefully

Temperature sensors, from thermistors and thermocouples to RTDs, are ubiquitous, but designers would be wise to look closely at the characteristics of each before making a selection as improvements in both design and associated software and algorithms tend to change their respective advantages. Read More...

The future of medical monitoring

Medical monitoring should be small, flexible and very, very thin, according to MC10, a wearable company that announced several flexible body-worn sensors at CES. Read More...

Pulse oximeter and heart rate integrated sensor module aids wearable designs

The MAX30102 is low power, operating on a single 1.8V supply with a separate 5V supply for the internal LEDs, and small footprint so it can be integrated into wearables. Read More...

Making smartphones smarter with capacitive touch sensing

Advanced features can be implemented in smartphones with relative ease using capacitive touch sensing technology. Read More...

Bosch sensors make life easier for designers

Designers will benefit from Bosch’s BCDS Design Sensor and XDK Cross Domain Development Kit, both presented at CES 2016. Read More...

Capacitive sensing enables long battery life and new features for wearable apps

Capacitive touch can be the key to wearables as long as they include a few necessities. Here's a quick look at exactly what they are. Read More...

Rotary position sensing for electric vehicles, part II

In part II of this series on electric vehicle rotary position sensing we discuss the robustness of position sensing. Read More...

The challenges and opportunities for ADAS stereo vision applications, part I

ADAS stereo-vision systems provide both opportunities and challenges to designers. Here is a four-part article that delves into both. Read More...

Embedded controllers for the Internet of Things

To solve power consumption challenges, the next generation of IoT wearable products requires an integrated implementation. Many modern ICs are available as SoC, a single device offering reduced size, BOM cost, and power consumption. Read More...

Rotary position sensing for electric vehicles, part I

Lowering the overall automotive carbon footprint and enabling vehicles to harness lost energy drives the automotive industry today. Rotary sensors are a major component in the electric vehicle, one of the technologies at the heart of this movement. Read More...

The basics of automotive cluster device architectures and applications, part II

Part II of this series focuses on the security aspect, memory requirement, and the concept of low power modes in cluster device. Read More...

Sensor Ganging--Optimize Power in a Capacitive Sensing System—Part III

In this final segment, we will cover sensor ganging implementation and more techniques to optimize power consumption. Read More...

Sensor Ganging--Optimize Power in a Capacitive Sensing System—Part II

Here’s Part II of a 3-part series on sensor ganging. This segment includes a discussion on the trade-offs between response time and power consumption, as well as other issues resolved by a ganged sensor. Read More...

Sensor Ganging—Optimize power in a capacitive sensing system--Part I

Here’s how to optimize power consumption in a capacitive sensing system, utilizing sensor ganging with a capacitive sensing controller. Use cases of sensor ganging are covered. Read More...

Implement glove touch in capacitive touch user interfaces

Implementing glove touch on capacitive touch interfaces isn’t easy. Here are the primary challenges and how to overcome them. Read More...

Replace IR sensing with proximity detection

Proximity Detection using native characteristics of capacitive touch solutions can help reduce BOM, NRE, and manufacturing costs, and improve form factor and maximize profits. Here’s how. Read More...

Sensors combinations make for more intelligent mobile devices

Smartphones can be remarkably dumb. Learn how sensor combinations can bring about more intelligent mobile devices. Read More...

USB 3.0—Everything you need to know

Everything about USB 3.0 that you might not know, and are afraid to ask. Read More...

Build a low-cost logic design trainer

Want to set up a lab at home for your personal experiments? Read on. Read More...

Capacitive sensing improves wearable devices

Given the decreasing size of wearable technology, user interfaces as well as aesthetics get an improvement nudge with capacitive sensing. Here’s why. Read More...

Tips & Trends: Change (aka unscrambling IT, OT and IoT)

While this may at first blush look like an ad for a company—it speaks to a bigger issue and what will most likely become a trend. Does the footprint you’ve used for years still fit your IoT shoes? Probably not Read More...

Sensors lead the way in Mercedes-Benz future car

Automotive sensor technology is takes a giant stride forward in a futuristic luxury concept car that's part chauffeur, part lounge, and part entertainment theater. Read More...

Achieve tamper-proof capacitive sensing

Here is an approach that can reasonably detect when a system is being tampered with and halt the system, avoiding theft of secure data. Read More...

Sensor fusion enhances device performance

Sensor fusion is a highly specialized area of design with roots deep in modelling and simulation technology. It requires the utmost detail in the understanding of how sensors work; their shortcomings and interaction. Here’s how it is contributing superior accuracy in next-gen electronic devices. Read More...

Single PN temperature sensor executes multiple functions

Here's how, with the addition of one more transistor and a few low-cost components, we can obtain many benefits. Read More...

ESD guidelines for touch-sensing applications

This article explains the basic set-up, test procedures, ESD test guidelines and the specifications of the IEC61000-4-2 ESD standard for pre-compliance testing of ESD in touch sensing applications. Read More...

Position encoding in battery-powered electronics

Fast position measurements, like those required for motor control, require fast evaluation and pulsing of Hall sensors, and metering applications need a slow sampling rate. Here’s a solution fit for both. Read More...

Use Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) for low-cost liquid level measurement —Part III

Article three of the series discusses a cost effective and implemented application of TDR to liquid level-sensing including schematics and board layout. Read More...

Use Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) for low-cost liquid level measurement—Part II

In the previous article, the basics of Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) were discussed. In this segment, we will discuss the application of TDR to liquid level sensing. Read More...

Capacitive sensing in battery-powered devices--Design considerations

This article focuses on the effective use of the capacitive sensor electrode reference (battery ground) and presents another variable reference introduced by the user (earth). Read More...

Use Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) for low-cost liquid level measurement—Part I

This three article series introduces the use of Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) to liquid level-sensing: Article one covers theory, article two discusses the application of TDR to liquid level-sensing and three delivers a cost effective and implemented application of TDR to liquid level-sensing including schematics and board layout Read More...

Lower power and cost for Android device motion sensing using mCube’s iGyro

While the gyro enhances user experience, the cost, power consumption and board space required limits applicability to only the most expensive mobile devices. Not any more. Read More...

BAW gyroscope sensors transform inertial MEMS apps

BAW technology is being used to develop a new class of solid-state MEMS gyroscopes that not only meet power, size, cost, and high volume production requirements exceedingly well, but also add higher performance to the mix. Read More...

Implement haptics in touch-based user interfaces

Transitioning from mechanical buttons, knobs, and dials to a capacitive touch interface poses a challenge to designers because there is no tactile feedback present with capacitive touch sensors as exists with mechanical buttons and switches. Here’s a solution. Read More...

Implement a stepper motor driver for smart gauges—Part III

In this final part of the article, we’ll cover implementing motor control in a SoC with attention to key points to keep in mind. Read More...

Crystal Oscillator Fundamentals and Operation—Part IV

In this segment, we continue our discussion on the remaining specifications such as startup time, crystal overtone and spurious modes. Read More...

Crystal Oscillator Fundamentals and Operation—Part III

In Part III the discussion moves to a look at the various parameters associated with crystal oscillators and their impact on the end system design. Read More...

Semiconductor Reliability and Quality Assurance--Failure Mode, Mechanism and Analysis (FMMEA)

This article introduces how to implement FMMEA in detail, including system definition, identification of potential failure modes, analysis of failure cause, failure mechanism, and failure effect analysis. Read More...

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Intelligent sensors used for pollution detection

A proposed sensor system detects ocean pollution and can help prevent it from spreading. Read More...

What are the most useful sensors?

Sensors are how we translate the real world into something we can manipulate electronically. We’ve all used them, but which kind is your favorite? Read More...

Sensor solution defines light

The MTCS-CDCAF color sensor is a fully integrated sensor chip, the first to include a true-color filter function, integrated signal amplification based on charge-to-digital conversion, and an on-chip temperature sensor. Read More...

Optical sensor ignores ambient noise to detect the spoken word

Using proprietary interferometry techniques, VocalZoom’s HMC sensor converts voice-derived facial vibrations to digital for voice recognition, command, and control, and ambient noise elimination for headsets and handsets. Read More...

Former Agilent engineers developing a wireless oscilloscope

Design will use Bluetooth Low Energy to connect to an iPhone or iPad. Read More...

Analyze current with a dedicated instrument

Keysight's CX3300 lets you view current waveforms from 150 pA to 10 A, with oscilloscope-like features. Read More...

The difference between inductive proximity, displacement, and eddy-current sensors

It seems like engineering 101, but the naming conventions used for these workhorses of industry can be misleading and belie some real advantages to be had from eddy-current sensors, despite higher costs. Read More...

M2.COM delivers IoT sensor platform specs

Six top IoT companies have come together and released specifications for M2.COM, a new module platform that will accelerate the deployment of sensor nodes and let designers focus on what they want to do, versus how to do it. Read More...

Wearable sensors analyze your sweat

If the latest in fitness technology is not supplying enough info about what’s going on in your body during exercise, newly developed sensors will provide real-time analysis of the chemicals in your perspiration. Read More...

Bluetooth Smart update brings major changes

The latest Bluetooth Smart update enables ambient intelligence, where electronic devices cooperate to make our lives easier, safer, and smarter. Read More...

Using biosensors for wearable stress and seizure detection

Advances in electro-dermal activity and heart-rate monitoring and variability sensors not only help track general stress levels, but can also help detect seizures. Read More...

Facial-recognition sensors adapt to track emotions, mood, and stress

Image sensor manufacturers are adapting their technology and algorithms to help designers develop plug-in solutions that track everything from basic facial features to mood and stress levels. Read More...

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