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.

Making fog computing sensors clearly reliable

With fog computing adding more intelligence and better communications at the edge, the opportunity arises to acquire more real-time sensor reliability insight. Read More...

Building wearables that sense, think, and communicate, part 2

In Part 2 of this series, additional design challenges for wearables, including field upgrade, energy harvesting, connectivity, and special features are discussed. Read More...

Let’s clear the air: analog and power management of environmental sensor networks

This overview of a typical environmental sensor network system design for analyzing outdoor air focuses on analog and power management design aspects that can be employed in a smart city or region. Read More...

Building wearables that sense, think, and communicate, part 1

This series provides guidance in meeting the myriad design challenges of building interactive wearable devices. Part 1 will identify the challenges and offer help in the way of feature-rich MCUs. Read More...

Prototype to Production: Using industrial sensors

Consumer sensors are designed with microcontrollers in mind, but industrial sensors can pose interface challenges. Read More...

Smart sensor fusion: Analog Devices and Linear Technology

For the future of end-to-end IoT sensing, the fusion of ADI and Linear Technology is smart meshing. Read More...

Packaging advances needed to ensure IoT growth

Integrating sensors, logic, and RF into a single chip is a difficult challenge, but combining them in a single package is practical. Read More...

The tyranny of numbers: Sensors in the next 60 years

Getting beyond the trillion-sensor-node IoT will take a revolution in materials application and system architecture, much the same way as Jack Kilby started the semiconductor IC era almost 60 years ago. Read More...

Why have an internal cal lab?

Internal calibration labs can save money and you can get better service, but there is a significant up-front cost. Read More...

Despite Tesla accidents, autonomous vehicles are closer than they appear

While accidents in Tesla vehicles cast clouds on autonomous driving, a quick look at our own driving habits and needs shows that autonomous vehicles are closer than they appear. Read More...

Autonomous automotive sensors: How processor algorithms get their inputs

Sensor electronics combined with better and more refined software algorithms will ultimately enable a safe fully-autonomous vehicle within the next ten years. Read More...

Myo armband: Wearables design focuses on packaging

Thalmic Labs’ Myo gesture-control armband combines electromyography with IMUs and exposes difficulty of implementing a true wearable. 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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Kit jumpstarts RealSense camera development

Intel offers a development kit for its RealSense SR300 3-D front-facing camera to help designers create more immersive games and applications. Read More...

Optical sensor fits low-profile smartphones

A tiny module that combines color (RGB), ambient light, and proximity sensing, the TMD3700 from ams suits space-constrained smartphones. Read More...

Combo sensors fit wearable devices

Two combination accelerometer-gyro sensors, the KXG07 and KXG08 from Kionix, a subsidiary of Rohm, provide six axes of motion sensing. Read More...

Sensor hub works with Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Bosch Sensortec’s sensor hub software library provides a ready-to-deploy solution for devices running the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS. Read More...

Light sensors halve smartphone aperture

The TMD2620 and TMD2725 proximity and light sensors from ams trim Android smartphone sensor apertures in the display’s cover glass. Read More...

Oxygen sensor gains screw-fit option

SST Sensing is now offering a stainless-steel screw-fit housing for its high-accuracy zirconium dioxide oxygen sensors. Read More...

Acquisition system employs CIC filters

The DI2108 USB-based data-acquisition system from Dataq provides eight 16-bit analog-input channels, each with a CIC-type antialias filter. Read More...

Sensors detect tip-over conditions

Accelerometers and tilt sensors in the 624X family from Memsic offer internal anti-vibration filtering for use in high-vibration environments. Read More...

Tiny motion sensor fits wearable devices

Bosch Sensortec’s BMX160 is a 9-axis motion sensor touted as the smallest in the industry for wearable and augmented/virtual-reality devices. Read More...

Wake up and listen: Vesper quiescent-sensing MEMS device innovation

Vesper claims the industry’s only wake-on sound microphone that enables always on listening capability at practically zero power-draw. Read More...

Resolver-to-digital converter trims board space

A resolver sensor interface, the PGA411-Q1 from Texas Instruments integrates a power supply, exciter amplifier, and safety features. Read More...

Reference design calculates force and mass

Engineers can evaluate and deploy HMI (human machine interface) devices using the MAXREFDES82# smart force reference design from Maxim. Read More...

Simulate thermocouples, check indicators and processes

The P470 thermocouple simulator from Highland Technology lets you simulate thermocouples, which can provide a "sanity check" for indicators and control systems. Read More...

ST, Arduino team to expand maker access

STMicroelectronics and Arduino have forged an agreement that brings STM32 MCUs and sensors to the Arduino maker community. Read More...

Force sensors gain TEDS option

A TEDS memory module for HBM’s force sensors stores sensor properties to speed configuration of the measurement system. Read More...

Current sensor supplies 1-MHz analog output

Allegro MicroSystems’ ACS730 Hall-effect current sensor provides 1-MHz bandwidth and a fast response time of 210 ns. Read More...

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...

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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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Making fog computing sensors clearly reliable

With fog computing adding more intelligence and better communications at the edge, the opportunity arises to acquire more real-time sensor reliability insight. Read More...

Use a proximity sensor to create a cat doorbell

One engineer used a proximity sensor to build a small device that activates an electric circuit to ring the doorbell when it senses his cat sitting in front of the door. Read More...

Wireless sensor network keeps IC wafer fab running efficiently

In a classic IoT use case, a semiconductor wafer manufacturer retrofitted a running fab with a wireless mesh network to monitor gas cylinder usage and reduce down time. Read More...

Mid-air haptics open door to new interface applications

Ultrahaptics’ mid-air haptic feedback technology provides a new way to interface with electronic systems to complement hearing and vision. Read More...

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...

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Smart sensor fusion: Analog Devices and Linear Technology

For the future of end-to-end IoT sensing, the fusion of ADI and Linear Technology is smart meshing. Read More...

Packaging advances needed to ensure IoT growth

Integrating sensors, logic, and RF into a single chip is a difficult challenge, but combining them in a single package is practical. Read More...

Why have an internal cal lab?

Internal calibration labs can save money and you can get better service, but there is a significant up-front cost. Read More...

Prototype to Production: Using industrial sensors

Consumer sensors are designed with microcontrollers in mind, but industrial sensors can pose interface challenges. Read More...

Despite Tesla accidents, autonomous vehicles are closer than they appear

While accidents in Tesla vehicles cast clouds on autonomous driving, a quick look at our own driving habits and needs shows that autonomous vehicles are closer than they appear. Read More...

Make room for growth: Women represent 12% of engineers

According to recent reports, women represent roughly 12% of today’s electrical and mechanical engineers, but their influence in the industry is increasing. Read More...

Embedded entrepreneurs get a boost from Arrow and Indiegogo

Teams need more than money to take a good idea into production, but help is becoming available. Read More...

Sensors Expo emphasizes embedded and IoT 2.0 sensor integration

Sensors Expo & Conference comes to Silicon Valley for the first time, with a clear shift in emphasis to a more holistic, smarter approach to sensors and embedded systems design. Read More...

The most useful sensors, according to you

From MEMS to humidity, temperature, force, and infrared sensors, EDN’s hard-bitten community of engineers took time out to vote for the “most useful.” This is what they chose. Read More...

Entrepreneurs compete at Hilton Head MEMS Conference

Entrepreneurs will get to showcase their MEMS technology and receive feedback from a group of industry leaders at the Hilton Head MEMS Conference. Read More...

Rubber Band Engineer: The book that will get you in trouble

Rubber Band Engineer is the kind of how-to book that can surely get you in trouble while having fun with projectiles. Read More...

The reality of virtual reality

Virtual reality headsets are hitting the mainstream market, opening up a new mass-market sector for VR, but we need other technologies like touchless haptics to make virtual reality real. Read More...

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