Category Archives: Sensors

High Accuracy Digital Temperature Sensor

Analog Devices is offering a high accuracy digital temperature sensor that covers a wide industrial range. The tiny package also incorporates a humidity sensor. There is no necessity of adding a separate analog to digital converter to this sensor, as the device has one built into it, and provides a high-resolution digital output of 16 bits. With a wide operating voltage range, the device is suitable for industrial, domestic, and commercial use. The ADT7420UCPZ-R2 from Analog Devices measures temperatures Read more [...]

Using Reed Switches as Sensors

Any ordinary electrical switch has two contacts. Push-type switches are spring loaded so that pushing a button brings them together and they spring apart on releasing the button. Rocker switches have mechanical levers that close the contacts when in one position, while in the other position they pull apart. In reed switches, the two contacts are in the shape of metal reeds, each coated with a metal that does not wear easily. The reeds are made from a ferromagnetic material, so they are easy to magnetize. Read more [...]

What are Digital Pressure Sensors?

Various industrial systems use pressurized air, water, and other fluids. They use sensors to regulate and maintain proper pressure at different points in their activities. Although many systems continue using analog pressure sensors, digital versions are fast replacing them. A few examples serve to illustrate why pressure sensors are important. Industrial icemakers need water at minimum pressure between 20 and 40 psi at the inlet—this allows the water inlet valve to function properly—although Read more [...]

A Rain Alert for the Raspberry Pi

This Raspberry Pi (RBPi) rain alert will let you know when it starts to rain, so you can reel in the clothes you had let out to dry after washing. Although the kit uses an RBPi3, any model of the RBPi family can easily handle this project. A later extension can make it send tweets as well, but for now, it simply triggers a buzzer. The primary sensor in this project senses falling raindrops. This raindrop sensor is actually a printed circuit board with two traces running across the entire board in Read more [...]

Motion Tracking through the MC3672

This year, the MSEC or MEMS & Sensors Executive Congress had mCube exhibiting their incredibly small and low-power MC3672, an inertial sensor product. This is a three-axis accelerometer, and its size is only 1.1 x 1.3 mm. This tiny WLCSP packaged device is a low parasitic unit, with enormous possibilities of unobtrusive use as low power motion tracking in wearable design, and in a completely new set of applications in future. Recently, mCube acquired Xsens and they were able to couple a sensor Read more [...]

Using Hall-Effect Type Sensors Effectively

We are familiar with appliances such as wine coolers, freezers, and refrigerators. They keep out beverages and food cold, extending their useful life. Most often, these appliances have lights that illuminate the insides when the user opens their doors. Since the lights only need to be on when the user opens the door, usually, the designer of such appliances place a sensor to detect the opening and closing of the door. A sensor of the Hall-effect type can detect the position of the door. In refrigerators, Read more [...]

What are Depth Sensors?

Ocean going ships typically use depth sensing techniques mainly for locating underwater objects to prevent running into them. This included gauging the distance of the sea floor. The principle involves measuring the time a burst of sound directed into the water takes to return after reflecting off an object. This time of flight gives a measure of its distance from the source of the sound, as the speed of sound traveling in water is fairly constant, depending on the water density and its temperature. With Read more [...]

Working with Gas Sensors and the Raspberry Pi

Many devices predicted by earlier science fiction stories and movies have come true. Among them are gas detectors as envisaged by the TV series Star Trek. If you have a single board computer such as the Raspberry Pi (RBPi), you can use it to detect the type of gas and air quality around you. Of course, you will need to couple the RBPI with a gas sensor, and among the popular gas sensors available are the BME680 from Bosch, and the CCS811 from AMS. Gas sensors are helpful in sniffing out volatile Read more [...]

Sensing Movement in Three Axes

All modern vehicles must sense the position and movement of automotive control functions such as turn signal indicators and gear selectors. However, engineers face challenges here with conventional sensor technologies as the requirement is for sensing movement in the three axes simultaneously. The challenge lies in the physical size of the device, its reliability, power consumption, and its cost. However, 3-D magnetic sensing technology, recently introduced, could be helping engineers to address Read more [...]

Is Chirp Microsystems Usurping UI?

User Interface (UI) is on the verge of a major shakeup as it was evident at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year. Leaving behind other UI interfaces such as motion, touch, and voice, touch-less is now looming large and lucrative as the new UI of choice for consumer devices. Touch-less means you can operate your device simply by waving your hands near it, without actually touching it. The CEO of Chirp Microsystems, Michelle Kiang is of the opinion that the UI revolution has been bringing on Read more [...]