Digital Variable Impedance Transducer

With its user-friendly new graphical user interface (GUI) for easier setup and connectivity, and cloud-based data access/monitoring, the digiVIT digital variable impedance transducer from Kaman Precision Products (Middletown, CT) offers a wide array of networking capabilities. It is a good choice for position, vibration, proximity sensing, part sorting, process control, laboratory testing, engine dynamics testing, condition monitoring, and more.

The transducer can perform with nearly any sensor, from any manufacturer, as well as any conductive target. It features scrolling menus for intuitive set-up and calibration, as well as Ethernet communication capabilities and it detects whether no sensors or shorted sensors are present.

Self-optimization capabilities ensure the best performance possible for any given combination of sensor, target, cable, and calibration. The embedded intelligence ensures that all functions are accessible, with no need to connect to a PC to download a configuration file when changing sensors or performing high level calibrations.

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Smart Sensor Hubs

Bosch Sensortec (San Jose, CA/Reutlingen, Germany) has announced the BHI260 and BHA260, the first two members of a new generation of smart sensor hubs. They are optimized for 24/7, always-on sensor processing and feature ultra-low power consumption.

With the help of its integrated sensor coprocessor and MEMS sensors, the hubs can handle sophisticated sensor processing tasks and data buffering without waking up the main application processor — and can even run entirely standalone. Their low power consumption translates into significantly extended battery lifetimes in wearables, hearables, AR/VR devices, and smartphones.

To facilitate complex processing tasks such as automated activity recognition and context awareness, they feature a 32-bit floating point CPU with 256 kB on-chip SRAM. The processor delivers up to 3.6 CoreMark/MHz. The family includes 16-bit MEMS sensors, a 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) in the BHI260 or a 3-axis accelerometer in the BHA260.

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Optical Sensors for Longer Operating Distances

The R100, R101, and R103 series, and the new R200 and R201 photoelectric sensors from Pepperl+Fuchs (Mannheim, Germany) are designed to function over longer operating distances and offer maximum flexibility for a variety of applications and mounting conditions.

The series include robust DuraBeam laser technology and high-precision Multi Pixel Technology (MPT) for distance measurement. Standardized usability across all series and functional principles plus the I/O-Link interface facilitate parameterization of the sensors during commissioning and when there is a change to the functional principle or to another series.

The R200 and R201 series offer all photoelectric functional technologies: thru-beam sensors, retroreflective sensors with a polarization filter or for clear object recognition, energetic diffuse mode sensors, sensors with background suppression and foreground suppression, measuring light barriers with two switch points, and distance sensors.

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Application-Specific PC-Mounted Sensor Modules

TE Connectivity's (Schaffhausen, Switzerland) AmbiMate Sensor Module MS4 Series provides an application specific set of sensors on a ready to attach PCB assembly for easy integration into a host product. The module frees design resources and accelerates time to market by integrating the pre-engineered, four-core sensor solution for motion, light, temperature, and humidity. Other MS4 series sensor modules include VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), CO2, and sound detection.

These modules can monitor air quality through the capture of VOC concentrations. The sound detection module incorporates a microphone, which allows for augmented motion detection or to listen for sound events. All MS4 series sensor module parts offer the flexibility of sharing a common seven position connection that allows designers to lay out a single PCB footprint accommodating all the available sensor configurations at production.

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Miniature LVDT Position Sensors for Harsh and High-Pressure Environments

The lightweight and compact 3/8” diameter M-375 Series AC-operated LVDTs from NewTek Sensor Solutions (Pennsauken, NJ) provide highly reliable linear position feedback in rugged industrial applications with tight space and weight restrictions. They provide high response dynamic measurement for machine operations such as robotics, automatic inspection equipment, plastic injection molding, hydraulic cylinder and valve positioning, down-hole drilling, and dimensional gaging in the aerospace, oil & gas, and manufacturing industries. They also serve as components in medical devices with tight space restrictions and high accuracy requirements.

The sensors have a corrosion-resistant, nickel-iron alloy housing and core and a temperature range of -65°F to +275°F (-55°C to +°135C), with optionally extended range of -65°F to 400°F (-55°C to 204°C). They are available in measurement ranges from ± 0.025 to ± 1 inch and provide linearity of < ± 0.25% over the full range with repeatability of <0.01% of full range.

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New Sensors Optimize Brightness for Smart Home Devices

ams (Premstaetten, Austria) is introducing a new family of ambient light and proximity sensors that offer high sensitivity, low power, and a small package size. The sensors are designed for use in display/LED brightness control in consumer electronics devices. They can detect ambient light at an intensity as low as a few millilux — the equivalent of a clear night sky with no moonlight. With their wide dynamic range, they operate effectively in lighting conditions ranging from bright sunlight to a dark room, and behind inked cover glass. The sensors enable automatic adjustment of LCD display backlighting or of indicator LEDs in response to changes in the brightness of the ambient light.

There are separate photopic ambient light and infrared light sensing channels made with interferometric IR and photopic filters deposited directly on the silicon. The photopic channel approximates the human eye's response to light intensity under widely varying lighting conditions and through very dark attenuated materials.

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MEMS Sensor Supports Accurate Positioning and Control for Cars

The ASM330LHH six-axis inertial sensor from STMicroelectronics (Geneva, Switzerland) is intended for super-high-resolution motion tracking in advanced vehicle navigation and telematics applications. It can support continuous, accurate vehicle location using advanced dead-reckoning algorithms to calculate precise position from sensor data if satellite signals are blocked. This often happens in urban canyons, tunnels, covered roadways, parking garages, or dense forests. Its advanced, low-noise, temperature-stable design also enables dependable telematics services such as e-tolling, tele-diagnostics, and e-Call assistance. Precision inertial data in six axes also meets the needs of advanced automated-driving systems.

It can operate in temperatures up to 105°C; its low noise allows greater measurement resolution by minimizing integration errors when positioning is reliant on sensors only; and has high linearity and built-in temperature compensation, which eliminates any need for external compensation algorithms over its operating range.

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TMR Angle Sensor

TDK Corporation (Tokyo, Japan) is expanding its portfolio of TMR angle sensors with the TAD2140 type in a TO-6 package for automotive and industrial applications. The new sensor provides a system-in-package solution for PCB-less applications. It includes two full TMR bridges, a dedicated ASIC for signal conditioning and integrated passive components. It features an angle accuracy of ±0.2°, with an angle error of ±0.05° at room temperature. It is capable of contactless sensing from 0° to 360° over a temperature range of −40°C to +150°C. Thanks to its small package size, the sensor is well suited for applications with limited available space, such as steering motor commutation. It can be welded or soldered directly onto a package lead, a connector, or a terminal, eliminating the need for a PCB, thus reducing total system size and cost.

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Waterproof 6-axis Acceleration and Angular Rate Sensor

The JoyWarrior56FR1-WP from Saelig Company (Freeport, NY) is a cost efficient, waterproof, USB-powered, six-axis MEMS motion sensor. Three axes of acceleration and three of angular rate are measured with 16-bit resolution. Measurement ranges from ±2 g to ±16 g and 125 dps to 2000 dps are available. Readings are taken at 833 measurements per second in standard mode, while a high-speed mode generates 6,664 data points per second. In standard mode the data is reported as joystick data, which eliminates the need for a special driver. The data can be read with any program that can accept joystick data as input.

A configuration tool for setting the sensor parameters, a 3D tilt angle demo, and a data recorder are included as part of the software support. Each sensor has a unique factory-programmed 8-digit hexadecimal serial number that can be used to simplify programming for multiple JoyWarriors connected to a single computer.

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Particulate Monitoring Sensor

The PMX Particulate Monitor from EMX Industries (Cleveland, OH) monitors smoke and airborne particulates. It can be useful for industrial ventilation hoods and commercial kitchen ventilation applications. The monitor is available in two styles: circuit boards for OEM applications and NEMA 4X housings to protect the components while providing a high quality, durable window for light transmission measurement. The transmitter can be mounted up to 10 meters from the receiver module, then aligned and adjusted to focus the light onto the receiver. The illumination level is adjusted for optimum operation at the distance and light transmission range necessary for a specific application. An adjustable threshold level allows the operator to set the discrete output switching point. The monitor features a 2-digit display that provides an indication of signal strength — making set-up and integration quick and easy. There are both a discrete PNP/NPN output and a 0-5V analog output.

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Dynamic Tilt Sensor Module

The new dynamic tilt sensor module from ACEINNA Inc. (Andover, MA) combines accelerometers, gyroscopes, and a temperature sensor with advanced calibration and correction algorithms to provide accurate 3D acceleration, 3D rate, and pitch and roll measurement in dynamic, moving vehicle applications.

It uses advanced sensor fusion (Extended Kalman Filtering) and calibration algorithms to achieve 0.5-degree tilt and <10 milli-g acceleration accuracy in a wide variety of dynamic conditions. It is calibrated to accurately operate over a temperature range of -40°C to +85°C.

The miniature plastic housing is durable under hazardous environments (IP68 and IP69K ratings). The completely sealed compact module (65 × 66 × 27 mm) with integrated connector is designed for rugged construction, off road, and agriculture applications.

It includes CAN J1939 and RS232 interfaces and supports a 4.9 V to 32 V supply input range (qualified for use in both 12 V and 24 V vehicle platforms).

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Dual Function Inductive Position Sensor

The Blade25 Inductive Position Sensor from Gill Sensors & Controls Limited (Los Angeles, CA) offers non-contacting position sensing that provides both linear and rotary position feedback in a single package. Gill's proprietary inductive sensing technology can monitor the activator's (target) position in either a straight linear movement or in a curved (arc) rotary movement as it passes over the sensing element. This makes it ideal for feedback sensing and control in a wide range of applications such as food processing, off-highway, marine, material handling, industrial vehicles, packaging, laboratory, camera/lens, cranes, and telescopics.

It measures either +/-45° of rotary movement or +/- 12.5mm linear displacement. Since there is no contact between the sensing element and the small metal target, its inductive technology eliminates the bearing and mechanical wear issues of conventional shaft-driven sensors. It's designed to meet stringent OEM environmental requirements with an IP67 rating.

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Gas Analyzer

The VIASENSOR G100 gas analyzer from Q.E.D. Environmental Systems, Inc., (Dexter, MI) is well-suited for measuring incubator carbon dioxide levels at in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryology laboratories. The accurate, easy to calibrate handheld digital instrument helps ensure the success of the delicate embryo incubating process, in which monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2) and/or oxygen (O2) levels, temperature, and humidity is essential for ensuring the optimal conditions required for incubating embryos.

With its convenient size, easy user calibration, improved stability and with built-in moisture removal, it provides accurate, quick, and easy CO2, O2, temperature, and relative humidity readings. This enables embryologists, stem cell researchers, and laboratory technicians to quickly verify and validate gas levels. The G100 is a simple digital alternative to using a chemical-based gas measurement device. It features data storage for 1,000 readings, download capabilities, a large backlit display, and a long-life battery.

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0.2mΩ, 12-Watt Power Shunt Current Sense Resistor

KOA Speer Electronics (Bradford, PA) is adding a new 0.2mΩ resistance value to its PSJ2 series of Power Shunt Current Sense Resistors. The resistor features a 12-Watt power rating and is available in a 3920 package. These power shunt resistors, which offer ultra-low resistance, are suitable for sensing large currents, over an operating temperature range of -65°C to +175°C.

The 12-watt resistors have a temperature coefficient of resistance of ±200ppm/°C with resistance tolerance of ±1%. The shunts will now be offered in resistance values of 0.2mΩ, 0.5mΩ, and 1mΩ, and are AEC-Q200 qualified. The resistors are ideal for automatic mounting and are suitable for reflow soldering.

Used primarily for current detection, the PSJ2 current sense power shunt resistors are well-suited for the transportation and industrial markets in applications such as DC to DC conversion, automotive modules, motor control, and power supplies.

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Silicon Avalanche Photodiodes (APDs) optimized for LIDAR

The Series 9 silicon avalanche photodiodes (APDs) from First Sensor AG (Berlin, Germany) have high sensitivity in the near infrared (NIR) wavelength range, especially at 905 nm. With their internal gain mechanism, large dynamic range, and fast rise time, they are ideal for LIDAR systems for optical distance measurement and object recognition by means of the time of flight (ToF) method.

The detectors are available as single elements as well as linear and matrix arrays with multiple sensing elements. The slow increase of gain of the photodiodes with applied reverse bias voltage allows for easy and precise adjustment of high gain factors. For particularly low light levels, hybrid solutions are available that further enhance the APD signal with an internal transimpedance amplifier (TIA). The integrated amplifier is optimally matched to the photodiode and allows compact setups as well as very large signal-to-noise ratios.

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Rotary Position Sensor with Two Independent Outputs

Curtiss-Wright Industrial Division (Christchurch, U.K.) has launched the WM-H10 shaft-operated rotary position sensor featuring a solid-state Hall-effect sensor that offers two independent and electrically-isolated outputs. Contained in a compact housing with integrated connector, the new sensor's robust, mechanical design is ideal for use in hostile, on- and off-highway, vehicle environments.

The full range electrical output of the sensor can be set to correspond to maximum rotations from 15 to 360°. The dual linear output voltage is proportional to the absolute position of the 6 mm, D-profiled shaft in either direction from a reference angle. To avoid errors associated with air-gap fluctuations, an integral magnet arrangement ensures a consistent sensor-magnet separation. The two independent measuring circuits enable the use of algorithms that compare the signals for error checking. It is IP68/IP69K-rated and has a -40°C to +85°C (SAE J1455) operating temperature range.

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Chlorine Dioxide Sensor

Endress+Hauser (Greenwood, IN) is developing a new platform for disinfection sensors. The new Memosens CCS50D chlorine dioxide sensor supports safe and effective disinfection for clean drinking water, pathogen-free cooling water and high-quality process water.

The sensor features a convex membrane made of dense, dirt-repellent material that prevents soiling and makes it extremely resistant to biofouling. Ultrasonic welding of the membrane to the sensor cap ensures its integrity, preventing dilution of the electrolyte, which guarantees long-term stable measurements.

It can deliver reliable disinfection measurements at low flow rates. In combination with the Flowfit CCA151 assembly, for example, the required flow rate is as low as 1.3 gal/h (5 l/h). During operation, plant operators can pre-calibrate sensors in the lab, swap them into the process with plug & play, and thus continue measuring faster. Contactless data transmission eliminates all measurement errors or even failures caused by humidity or corrosion.

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RF Sensors

Vayyar (Yehud, Israel) announced the next generation of its RF sensors for 3D imaging. The new sensors integrate more antennas than ever before (72 transmitters and 72 receivers) to offer a longer range and higher quality image of everything happening around you in real time.

The new sensors expand on their abilities to see through materials, differentiate between objects and people, and map large areas in real time. Whether implemented in an office, retail store, hospital or home, these sensors provide valuable insight into people's locations, interactions, and health anomalies. Some of their capabilities include: monitoring breathing and vital signs, securing homes and providing intruder alerts, quantifying composition of different liquids, working in conditions where other sensors cannot, including in fires, smoke, fog, rain, and detecting a person's posture and location in a car.

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48 Channel Digitizer

Spectrum Instrumentation (Grosshansdorf, Germany) has added twelve new products to its family of LXI-based digitizerNETBOX data acquisition instruments. The units come with a variety of signal triggering techniques, large on-board memories, and a number of intelligent acquisition modes. The triggers can be derived from either the channel input or an external source. They can also be combined with logical AND/OR functionality to allow pattern-specific triggering. Acquisitions can be made in single-shot mode (for transient recording) or in other modes such as multiple recording, gated sampling, or ABA (the combination of fast and slow continuous acquisitions) that allow the most efficient use of the on-board memory.

Front-panel clock and trigger inputs and outputs are standard for synchronization with external equipment. Further flexibility is provided via three individually programmable front panel connectors that offer Asynchronous Digital-In, Synchronous Digital-In, and a Timestamp Reference Clock.

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Digital Deadweight Tester Design

The model CPD8500 digital deadweight tester from Mensor Corporation (San Marcos, TX) is an instrument that combines the performance of a manual pressure balance with the efficiency and usability of a compact digital primary standard. The instrument offers a broad pressure range with various measuring heads from 1 – 500 bar gauge (15 – 7,250 psig) and 1 – 20 bar abs (15 – 290 psia). The tester is housed with an internal environmental monitoring module, a head temperature probe, and a precision vacuum transducer for automatic detection of sensitive parameters. An optional internal or external barometric reference provides versatility with gauge or absolute pressure modes. Accuracies as high as 35 ppm of reading make the CPD8500 comparable to a reference primary standard and an ideal tool for calibrating transfer standards. In absolute mode, the CPD8500 offers continuous measurement, unlike a traditional piston gauge where vacuum is interrupted to load masses.

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Sensor Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2018 issue of Sensor Technology Magazine.

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