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Sensor ICs

Written by Jeff Child

Integration and Performance

The IoT phenomenon continues to rev into high gear and sensor innovations have had to keep pace. That’s driven manufacturers of sensors ICs to develop highly integrated, high-performance devices.

  • What’s happening with sensor ICs?

  • BPS240 series from Bourns

  • Infineon Technologies’ XENSIV
    TLI4971

  • MAX25405 from Maxim
    Integrated

  • MPS R-290 Propane
    sensor from NevadaNano

  • ON Semiconductor’s XGS 16000

  • ZMOD4510 gas sensor platform
    from Renesas Electronics

  • STMicroelectronics’ VL53L5CX

  • The HAR 3900 and HAR 3930 from TDK-Micronas

  • Texas Instruments’ HDC302x

Sensors play a key role in embedded systems because they are the devices that interact directly with the real world. With the Internet-of-Things (IoT) phenomenon charging ahead, sensor IC manufacturers solutions have been hard at work developing new products. This means either adding more capability or combining multiple sensor functions on a single device. Either way, the trend in sensor technology is toward integration.

Sensors span a wide variety of sensor types and functions including: temperature, pressure, motion, gas detection, imaging and more. Weave in the proliferation of IoT and intelligent edge applications, sensors are also moving to smaller, low-power designs to meet the new requirements of those systems. Because there are so many different types of sensors, the sensors in this article’s product gallery are just a representative slice of today’s offerings among new products introduced over the past 12 months. Aside from sensor specialist companies, it’s clear that microcontroller (MCU) and analog IC vendors have led many of the sensor technology and product developments over the past 12 months. Such vendors are used to working closely with the analog world, so sensors are a natural area for them.

One interesting trend has been the emergence of IoT development kits that includes sensors. An example along those lines is TT Electronics’ S-2CONNECT Pro Tracking and Monitoring Kit for rapid IoT development. The kit can be deployed to connect, track, sense and monitor applications such as asset tracking, cold chain, smart home and broader industrial IoT scenarios (Figure 1). The kit includes hardware from the TT Electronics S-2CONNECT family, including the S-2CONNECT Hub and S-2CONNECT Sense device, which incorporate temperature, humidity, light and acceleration sensors. An embedded SIM with three months of cellular connectivity, a data package of 25MB per month and a power supply is also included.

The Pro Kit comes with access to cloud-based services provided by TT Electronics including database, MQTT broker, microservices and firmware hosting. Access to the user interface for managing device configuration, provisioning and monitoring is offered exclusively by the S-2CONNECT Portal for the duration of the subscription. 

Figure 1
The S-2CONNECT Pro Tracking and Monitoring Kit for rapid IoT development includes hardware from the TT Electronics S-2CONNECT family, including the S-2CONNECT Hub and S-2CONNECT Sense device, which incorporate temperature, humidity, light and acceleration sensors.

PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • OCTOBER 2021 #375 – Get a PDF of the issue


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Former Editor-in-Chief at Circuit Cellar | Website | + posts

Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.

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Sensor ICs

by Jeff Child time to read: 2 min