CAMBRIDGE, England – Plessey Semiconductors Ltd. (Plymouth, England) has announced the release of the PS25451, a low-cost version of its electric field sensor. Whereas the original version was aimed at medical applications, such as a remote heart-rate monitoring, the latest version provides remote sensing for high volume consumer markets.
A novel electrode design has been devised to replace the titanium dioxide electrodes currently used for the higher end, medical applications of the electric potential integrated circuit (EPIC) technology.
Predicted applications for the PS25451 include proximity switching of lighting, gesture-based remote control of interactive toys, computer games, TVs, monitors, other appliances and presence detection for security/alarm systems.
The EPIC sensor, in development at the University of Sussex in England for more than eight years prior to being licensed to Plessey for commercialization, works by measuring changes in an electric field in a similar way to a magnetometer detecting changes in a magnetic field. It can do this even at a distance and through clothing. This enables it to be used for security motion sensors and non-contact electrical switches as well as medical applications detecting heart beats, nerve and muscle activity either by dry contact or without contact.
"EPIC sensors can be used in an extremely wide variety of applications so we have created a product family that enables customers to select the most appropriate sensor solution according the application's requirements for cost, operational range and sensitivity," said Keith Strickland, technology director at Plessey, in a statement. "The new electrode design for the PS25451 is formed on the copper track of the circuit board that is then covered by the normal protective resist."
Production pricing for the PS25451 is less than $1 in volumes above 50,000. It is supplied in a custom package with exposed pins for surface mount assembly and measures 10-mm by 10-mm by 2-mm, which is also pin-compatible with the existing PS25401 EPIC sensor.