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.

Moving to improve automotive safety with MEMS scanning mirror technology

During the MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress, Jari Honkanen from MicroVision showed off amazing MEMS moving mirror technology. Read More...

ESC Silicon Valley: Be creative by goofing off

At the Dec. 8 keynote address, Ransom Stephens will explain how to use your brain to solve bigger problems more effectively than you do now. Goofing off is an important part. Read More...

Prodigiously sensing devkit also enables IoT/cloud

This devboard senses everything but the kitchen sink, wirelessly connects, and comes with lots of example software. Read More...

Enhancing audio system designs with digital signal processing

You don't have to be an audio DSP/embedded software geek to effectively design audio systems with microphones to enhance the system performance. Read More...

Plug and play mesh IoT sensor system unveiled

The Njord sensor module is part of a system that works straight out of the box. Read More...

An NFC-enabled multi-parameter bio-signal monitor for wearable systems

In-home monitoring is a growing trend, where patients monitor their vital signs on their own. Bio-signal sensor data can be transmitted wirelessly through NFC to a smartphone for remote monitoring by a healthcare professional. Read More...

Distributed measurements unlock the future of design

Distributed physical measurements are the key to working with new materials and state-of-the-art mechanical design. Read More...

FILTRON: Optical filters for CMOS integrated photodetectors

Optical filters on CMOS integrated photodetectors make optoelectronic sensors possible for wavelengths from the ultraviolet to the near-infrared range. Read More...

5 unique MEMS and sensors-enabled applications

These are the five top MEMS and sensor innovations that will be demonstrated and judged at the MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress. Read More...

Why is everything junk? (Heat-pump edition)

No matter how wonderful today's high-technology products seem to be, they're almost invariably hobbled by design faults. I ponder why that might be, and discuss a specific product. Read More...

Creating JARVIS - Smart microphones enabling the digital butler

Smart microphones underpin advances in voice interfaces as the Amazon Echo shows us that the public is ready for this technology. Read More...

Thermocouple physics: Even Jim Williams got it wrong

So many engineers have incorrectly written about how thermocouple work. Jim Williams was among them in an EDN article published in 1988. 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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Lighting manager offers spectral tuning

A smart-lighting manager, the AS7221 from ams is a network-enabled device that provides CCT tuning for white LED smart lighting. Read More...

Pressure sensor works in high-temp environments

A miniature piezoresistive pressure transducer, the Endevco Model 8523 from Meggitt Sensing Systems operates continuously up to +260°C. Read More...

SVGA sensor shrinks package size

ON Semiconductor’s Python 480 CMOS image sensor offers the same SVGA resolution as the existing Python 500 in a package that is 85% smaller. Read More...

Proximal flow sensor is disposable

The SFM3300-D single-use mass flow sensor from Sensirion performs proximal flow measurements in medical applications, such as ventilation. Read More...

Hygienic sensor measures conductivity

The CLS82D four-electrode sensor from Endress+Hauser converts the measured value to a digital signal and transfers it to a transmitter. Read More...

Pressure sensors need as little as 0.9 V

BLC series micropower low-pressure sensors from All Sensors are intended for use with noncorrosive, nonionic working fluids. Read More...

Kit helps connect sensors to the Internet

Digi’s ConnectCore for i.MX6UL starter kit serves as an IoT design platform that enables rapid development of smart connected devices. Read More...

Medical biosensors need no wires

HMicro and STMicroelectronics have teamed to create disposable clinical-grade biosensor patches that communicate wirelessly. Read More...

EMCCD sensor enables low-light imaging

An interline transfer EMCCD image sensor, the KAE-08151 from ON Semiconductor, provides 8-Mpixel resolution for very low-light applications. Read More...

Miniature sensors measure low pressure

All Sensor’s DLHR series of pressure sensors offers a high-resolution digital output and measurement ranges of 0.5 inH2O to 60 inH2O. Read More...

Hall sensors consume no more than 1.6 mA

Comprising both switch and latch types, the TLx496x series of Hall sensors from Infineon offers precise switching points and stable operation. Read More...

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...

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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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Invisible controls you can touch

A new interface system generates virtual controls in mid-air, that you can actually feel. Read More...

5 unique MEMS and sensors-enabled applications

These are the five top MEMS and sensor innovations that will be demonstrated and judged at the MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress. Read More...

Why is everything junk? (Heat-pump edition)

No matter how wonderful today's high-technology products seem to be, they're almost invariably hobbled by design faults. I ponder why that might be, and discuss a specific product. Read More...

Creating JARVIS - Smart microphones enabling the digital butler

Smart microphones underpin advances in voice interfaces as the Amazon Echo shows us that the public is ready for this technology. Read More...

Thermocouple physics: Even Jim Williams got it wrong

So many engineers have incorrectly written about how thermocouple work. Jim Williams was among them in an EDN article published in 1988. Read More...

A glimpse of the future of IoT sensors

Sensors are the backbone of the IoT and the MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress shares visions of the technological and application developments shaping the future of design. Read More...

Tele-haptics provide opportunity for VR and AR innovators

Virtual and augmented reality are making enormous strides, which must be complemented by equally enormous haptic feedback innovation to make the experience truly interactive and immersive. Read More...

Thermocouples: Basic principles and design essentials

It takes carefully designed and implemented circuitry to design a high-accuracy thermocouple interface. The first step is to understand the underlying physics principles of this widely used temperature sensor. 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...

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...

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