Sensor combinations and miniaturization
New sensor combinations are emerging in the sensor market, according to Bouchaud. “Some sensors have been available as discrete solutions until now -- like the pressure sensor or the humidity sensor. Combining them cuts the overall costs of the sensors.”
Putting several sensors on a package, such as accelerators and gyroscopes, [is] becoming more commonplace. "In fact, the majority of the market for gyroscopes is for combo sensors," said Bouchaud. "The same goes for light sensors. Combo sensors are a very important trend on the technology side.”
Miniaturization, Curran noted, is an interesting trend. Miniaturization of sensors is enabling some of the innovative sensor packaging and devices. Innovations in gaming, such as in the X-Box Connect, which brought in multiple types of sensors to deliver rich fidelity, are moving into mobile devices as well. Traditional fitness is seeing the same thing as key vital signs and biometrics are becoming visible. “Miniaturization of sensors combined with enhanced fidelity of devices allows product manufacturers and service providers to experiment with devices and offer compelling and fulfill compelling and specific needs,” Curran said.
Bosch BME280 MEMS sensor.
Bosch MEMS sensor
Bosch has rolled out a MEMS sensor that combines pressure, humidity, and temperature measurement in a single component. The BME280 is aimed at handsets and wearables where it is to be used for greater control as well as sports and fitness use cases. Its humidity sensor measures relative humidity from 0 to 100 percent and from -40°C to +85°C with less than 1 second of response time. The humidity measurement accuracy is plus or minus 3 percent, with a hysteresis of 2 percent or more, and a temperature reading accuracy within half a percent Celsius. The device’s pressure is intended to offer floor-level tracking for indoor navigation. The relative accuracy of pressure readings is plus or minus 0.12 hPA, which equates to plus or minus 1 meter of altitude difference at a resolution of 1.5 cm. The device comes with I2C and SPI serial digital outputs. Its packaging measures 2.5mm by 2.5mm with a height of 0.93mm in an 8-pin LGA package. The BSH1.0 algorithm also allows developers to put in place a temperature compensation function.
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