Shape Sensor

OFS, (Norcross, GA) has developed a shape sensor fiber. The technology platform produces twisted multicore optical fiber with continuous FBGs (Fiber Bragg Gratings). The sensor meets 3D shape sensing specifications, such as twist rate, coating concentricity, grating reflectivity, and grating spacing. Continuous gratings are written without stripping and recoating the fiber.

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Pressure Sensor

Bosch Sensortec (Palo, Alto, CA) has announced the BMP380 barometric pressure sensor. The 2.0 × 2.0 × 0.75 mm3 device enables drones, smartphones, tablets, and wearables to accurately determine altitude changes, in both indoor and outdoor environments. The new FIFO and interrupt functionality provide simple access to data and 512-byte storage. During full operation, power consumption is reduced to 2.0μA at 1Hz.

The BMOP380 measures from 300 hPa to 1250 hPa. Tests in real-life environments have verified a relative accuracy of +/-0.06 hPa (+/-0.5m) over a temperature range from 25 °C to 40 °C. The absolute accuracy between 300 and 1100 hPa is +/-0.5 hPa over a temperature range from 0°C to 65°C. The sensor will be available for selected customers with the start of channel promotion in the 2nd quarter of 2017.

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Pressure Sensors

All Sensors Corp. (Morgan Hill, CA) has announced the BLCR sensor series. The low-pressure, compact devices feature CoBeam2™ dual-die reference technology to reduce all output offset or common mode errors. Other capabilities include uPower supply voltage of 1.8V to 3.3V; ratio-metric basic output; 0.1% linearity; optional parylene coating; and an operating temperature range of -25 °C to 85 °C. The BLCR products support medical instrumentation, environmental control, and HVAC applications.

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LVIT Gaging Sensors

Alliance Sensors Group (Moorestown, NJ) has introduced its GHS-19 series of spring-loaded LVIT (Linear Variable Inductive Transducer) gaging sensors. The contactless devices are designed for dimensional gaging and position measurements in factory automation and in various industrial and commercial applications, such as automotive testing, mil/aero test stands, robotic arms, and packaging equipment, where the sensing element cannot be attached to the object being measured.

GHS-19 sensors have a 0.75-inch (19-mm)-diameter aluminum or stainless steel body, with a 1/2-20 UNF-2A threaded nose. The sensors’ 0.25-diameter probes are equipped with a No. 9 contact tip, producing a maximum tip force of 1 pound (0.45 kgf). Operating from a variety of DC voltages, the sensors are available with a choice of one of four analog outputs.

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Automotive Sensor

A new sensor from Turck (Minneapolis, MN) offers presence sensing for automotive applications. The device detects the presence or absence of a nut welded to sheet metal on various vehicle components. The low-profile design uses magnetic inductive technology. An optional teach pendant programs the sensor to differentiate between the sheet metal material and the weld nut. When the nut is properly placed, the sensor sends a signal to the PLC, which allows the robotic welder to weld the nut to the sheet metal.

The sensor measures 61 mm, with a probe tip diameter of 4 mm to accommodate down to a 5-mm weld nut. A titanium nitride-coated probe provides greater strength and protection in harsh applications. The cable version includes a robust TPE-style jacket with a molded M12 connector for flexible mounting possibilities, and a four-way LED for visibility from multiple sides. Additional sensors in the series will spot nut diameters of 6-12 mm and 10-20 mm, and are available with integral M12 connectors.

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Sensor Unit

The idiamCONTROL sensor unit from Micro-Epsilon (Raleigh, NC) optimizes the maintenance of extruders by reliably detecting wear of housing bores. The non-contact inspection method uses capacitive sensors that are arranged opposite to one another. Wear detection using idiamCONTROL avoids complex dismantling and enables direct noncontact measurement of the inner diameter of the plant.

The evaluation unit performs an axial position detection and therefore achieves the targeted replacement of defective segments. The idiamCONTROL sensor unit is guided mechanically and precisely measures the inner diameter of extruder bores in six tracks. The sensor is moved via two cross rollers on both ends of the device, which can be turned through 40° clockwise or anticlockwise. The spring-loaded rollers feature several metal pins that ensure accuracy and prevent the measuring cylinder from turning.

While retracting the sensor unit, diameter and distance measurements are recorded and stored. The signal is shown as a diameter over the complete tube length and tolerance deviations are displayed. Individual areas can be cut and zoomed to save or print for documentation purposes.

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Home Automation Sensor

Jasco Products (Oklahoma City, OK) has released the GE branded Z-Wave Portable Smart Multi Sensor. In addition to detecting movement, the technology monitors and responds to temperature levels and changes to ambient lighting. Three adjustable sensitivity levels (low, medium, and high) reduce false triggers. The detection zone spans up to 180° range, up to 45-feet away. The device is powered via battery or Micro USB cable.

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Position Sensing System

The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products (Middletown, CT) has introduced its OEM-2306 non-contact linear displacement measuring instrument. Using eddy current technology, the OEM-2306 offers machine control in a smaller, bare PC board format. Many aspects of the physical configuration and calibration of the instrument can be specified and customized to the needs of each high-volume OEM application, including sensor cable length, extended range calibration, temperature compensation calibration, and sensor customization.

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Lighting Manager

ams AG (Cupertino, CA) has announced the AS7221, a white-tunable smart lighting manager. The architecture, which includes an I2C extension interface, positions the AS7221 to deliver IoT sensor hub platform capabilities for sensing functions such as air quality, temperature, occupancy, and presence.

The AS7221 is equipped with an embedded tri-stimulus CIE XYZ color sensor. The fully integrated luminaire control system is compatible with standard 0-10V inputs and standard clients such as Bluetooth Smart, ZigBee, or Wi-Fi. LED control for spectral tuning is implemented via direct PWM channel outputs. The system will be available in a 5 × 5-mm LGA package, for flexible integration into both luminaires and larger replacement lamps.

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Portable Security Monitor (Paris, France) offers the GuardPeanut™. The portable security sensor can be placed on possessions to provide notifications and automatic sound alerts when an item has been tampered with or moved. The sensor connects via Bluetooth 4.0 to smartphones and tablets through its dedicated iOS or Android SensePeanut app. Users control when the tag monitors their items by pressing the GuardPeanut tag on and off as needed. The sensor can also be reused to track different objects as monitoring requirements change. GuardPeanut produces an alert and sends a notification directly to any registered device within 200 feet.

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Health Monitor

EarlySense (Waltham, MA) has introduced a contact-free health monitor capable of providing accurate information regarding one's heart, breathing cycles, stress levels, and sleep indicators. By monitoring vital parameters during sleep, LIVE collects continuous health information every day. A LIVE+ mobile app identifies changes in health patterns, and alerts users of significant changes. The accuracy of LIVE by EarlySense was professionally tested in clinical study and found to be 92.5% as accurate as polysomnography (PSG), the wired testing process used in clinics around the world to detect sleeping patterns and potential disorders.

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Helmet Sensor System

The Smart Helmet Sensor System from BeBop Sensors (Berkeley, CA) uses flexible fabric sensors for location-specific impact information. The system captures a complete highspeed movie of the entire impact incident from the head's point of view, providing real-time feedback to a paired Bluetooth device for first responders and post-trauma study.

The device can also be programmed to trigger safety response commands, such as an emergency call. Using a latticed array of over 40 sensors embedded in the helmet liner, multiple impacts are tracked and recorded in realtime and stored in F-RAM. The helmet system uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connection for data transmission, measuring 6-axis IMU acceleration up to 160 Gravities. Upon first indication of a potential incident, the sensor activates within milliseconds, then scans the entire skull 400 times per second, storing 16 seconds of event data internally, awaiting download. The lattice sensor arrangement allows custom design for any OEM helmet.

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Sensor Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2017 issue of Sensor Technology Magazine.

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