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.

The Landscape Evolution Observatory: Improving life with sensors

We, as engineers, need to care about Earth science efforts to make the world better with our creativity. This article will explore The Landscape Evolution Observatory, Biosphere 2, and their electronics, especially sensors. Read More...

NASA’s launch complex 39B: Paving our path to Mars

Get an exclusive look at NASA's Launch Complex 39B, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Read More...

IoT: The Interference of Things

A technical session at the 2017 IEEE EMC+SIPI Symposium made it clear that EMI engineers will be constantly fixing interference problems as billions of wireless devices come online. Read More...

Building 5G networks from the core up

5G use cases will require a different network approach, not just for the access network, but also for the next-generation core. Read More...

Measure 16 temperatures, controlled online

The WebDAQ 316 from Measurement Computing lets you measure 16 thermocouple channels and includes a built-in web server. Read More...

Man’s endeavor to live beyond planet Earth

NASA Earth-independent activities are building on what they learn on the International Space Station and in deep space to enable human missions to the Martian surface. Read More...

Designing fast, isolated microamp current sources: Part 2

Need to test photodiode receivers or provide isolated megahertz current signals? Here’s an in-depth design guide. Read More...

The art of powering wearable electronics

The wearables market currently is composed primarily of wristbands and smart watches. The biggest challenge for wearable devices has been keeping these devices properly and conveniently powered. Read More...

Run data-acquisition boards from Python under Linux

Run data-acquisition boards from Microstar Labs through a Python API under Linux at no extra cost. Read More...

When can a sensor be used in an automotive system?

Here is a designer’s guide to deciphering the term ‘automotive qualified.’ Read More...

Improve RFID by killing noise

RFID is great technology, but noisy power and other aggressors can ruin performance. Use this trick to solve the problem, for RFID or any RF or sensitive subsystem. Read More...

Enhancing drivers' eyes, senses, and reflexes with creative electronics

Safety while driving is paramount when we think about all the different proposed electronics that will be going into modern automobiles. Read More...

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Color sensor achieves high dynamic range with auto exposure

For machine vision and other applications, this circuit provides consistent RGB sensing regardless of illumination level. Read More...

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...

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Transceiver teams with IO-Link sensors

Recently adopted by Omron, the MAX14827A dual transceiver from Maxim uses IO-Link sensors to provide production-line diagnostics. Read More...

IoT sensor determines air quality

An environmental sensor from Bosch Sensortec, the BME680 measures indoor air quality, pressure, humidity, and ambient air temperature. Read More...

Measure 16 temperatures, controlled online

The WebDAQ 316 from Measurement Computing lets you measure 16 thermocouple channels and includes a built-in web server. Read More...

GigE cameras deliver up to 5 Mpixels

FLIR Systems’ Blackfly S GigE POE machine-vision cameras offer CMOS image sensors with resolutions of 1.3 Mpixels, 3.2 Mpixels, and 5 Mpixels. Read More...

Triaxial accelerometers are case isolated

PCB’s 354A04 and 354A05 triaxial ICP accelerometers are case isolated to ensure measurement accuracy on structures with poor grounding. Read More...

Run data-acquisition boards from Python under Linux

Run data-acquisition boards from Microstar Labs through a Python API under Linux at no extra cost. Read More...

Tri-axis sensor embeds pedometer

The K126 16-bit tri-axis digital accelerometer from Kionix integrates a step detector and step counter, yet minimizes power consumption. Read More...

Color sensor cuts BOM/assembly costs

The simplified optical and mechanical design of the AS7261 Jencolor XYZ color sensor from ams enables rapid integration and system design. Read More...

Multisensor RFID tags read 10 meters out

Employing multiple sensors in a single tag, the PCT100 and PCT200 from Powercast have an RF operating range of -17 dBm to +20 dBm. Read More...

MEMS ICs monitor industrial equipment

MEMS accelerometers, the ADXL1001 and ADXL1002 from Analog Devices, allow early detection of common causes of machine failure. Read More...

Foil shunt resistors contain integrated RTD

The RTD temperature sensor lets you monitor the device's temperature for thermal management in power circuits. Read More...

Sensor offers adjustable sensitivity

Allegro’s A1377 linear Hall-effect sensor, with its broad sensitivity range and onboard diagnostics, is well-suited for automotive sensing. Read More...

Wire strain gages take the heat

ZWH, ZWN, and ZWP series strain gages from Micro-Measurements operate at temperatures of up to 1500°F, 1600°F, and 1900°F, respectively. Read More...

Simulator has multiple transducer outputs

Battery-operated, Meggitt’s Endevco Model 4830B handheld signal generator simulates the electrical output of common accelerometers. Read More...

10-bit oscilloscopes fill gap between lower and higher models

The RTB2000 series from Rohde & Schwarz covers 70 MHz to 300 MHz with a 10-in. capacitive touchscreen display. Read More...

Sensor minimizes x-ray exposure

Improving patient safety, the KAF-09001 CCD image sensor from ON Semiconductor enables video imaging under reduced x-ray dosage conditions. Read More...

Keysight adds 50/70/100 MHz oscilloscopes for educators, small labs

The InfiniiVision 1000 X-Series brings higher-end features within budgets of educators, small labs, and even individuals. Read More...

Motion sensor offers low-power settings

Small enough for wearable devices, STMicroelectronics’ LIS2DW12 three-axis accelerometer draws only 50 nA in standby mode. Read More...

A soft whisper heard clearly: Getting automatic speech recognition right

Consumers want to speak commands to their automobiles, mobile devices, and wearables, but ambient noise can get those messages wrong. Read More...

Sensor boosts ambient light immunity

TT Electronics’ OPB9000 reflective optical sensor performs accurate edge and presence detection under varying ambient light conditions. Read More...

What are magneto-inductive MEMS?

In one example, magneto-inductive sensors can be used to locate available parking spaces and guide you right to them. Read More...

Sensors enable chip-scale spectral analysis

Housed in small LGA packages, the AS7262 visible-light sensor and AS7263 NIR sensor from ams provide six calibrated spectral channels. Read More...

Hall switch supplies dual outputs

Housed in a low-profile X2-DFN1410-4 package, Diodes’ AH1389 unipolar Hall-effect switch offers a tightly defined magnetic operating window. Read More...

Smart sensors track fitness activity

STMicroelectronics’ LIS2DS12 3-axis accelerometer, LSM6DSL/M 6-axis inertial module, and new LSM303AH eCompass optimize always-on tracking. Read More...

Magnetic sensor stabilizes drone designs

MEMSIC’s three-axis sensor, the MMC5883MA, achieves high accuracy and low noise to meet the demands of industrial and drone applications. Read More...

EDN Hot 100 products of 2016: Analog and Sensors

This section of EDN's Hot 100 Products of 2016 features analog ICs including transistors, transceivers, and others offering significant similar analog functions, and sensors and MEMS products. Read More...

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...

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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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When can a sensor be used in an automotive system?

Here is a designer’s guide to deciphering the term ‘automotive qualified.’ Read More...

Selecting the right digital temperature sensor for your application

This article explores the broad categories of local and remote digital temperature sensors, examines specific technologies used within these applications, and provides guidance on the appropriate temperature sensing solution for each case. Read More...

Innovative 3D sensing for automotive control functions

Conventional sensor technologies present engineers with challenges in sensing the position and movement of automotive control functions. New 3D magnetic sensing technology is helping engineers to address these challenges. Read More...

Microphones: A sound technology choice for communication and control

Sound is the most natural way that human beings communicate and microphone technology will enable us to use it to control the world around us. Read More...

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...

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IoT: The Interference of Things

A technical session at the 2017 IEEE EMC+SIPI Symposium made it clear that EMI engineers will be constantly fixing interference problems as billions of wireless devices come online. Read More...

Building 5G networks from the core up

5G use cases will require a different network approach, not just for the access network, but also for the next-generation core. Read More...

Are robots a threat to engineers?

As engineers create ever more sophisticated robots, are they in danger of being replaced themselves? Read More...

My NO/NC misassumption reminder

A trivial repair reminded me that making assumptions can often cause problems ranging from trivial to tricky in debug and repair situations. Read More...

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...

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