Sensor Platforms’ micro interface leverages sensor functionality

The six-channel interface chip saves on cost, power consumption, and space. (Image: Sensor Platforms)

Mar. 21, 2007 — Sensor Platforms, developer of IC-based sensor interface products, has introduced the SSP1401 Multi-Channel LRC Sensor Interface chip, designed for high-volume applications where sensor fusion capability is vital. The company says its chip, which supports up to six sensors, is a natural fit for any battery powered mobile platform seeking to add more value by leveraging the capability of sensors.

The user-configurable chip interfaces with sensors of various signal types and functionalities including resistive, capacitive, inductive, piezoelectric and pulse-count based. For instance, the chip can directly interface to a magnetometer to implement a compass function, and at the same time provide altimeter information via a capacitive pressure sensor; both functions have become popular in wristwatches and other consumer devices.

The SSP1401 promises true 1.8V operation (1.6V to 3.6V), ultra-low power consumption, and cost effectiveness. Sensor Platforms says it has designed the product for industrial and automotive customers’ requirements for functionality over extended temperature ranges from -40 to +125C.

The SSP1401’s six channels can each drive up to 60 mA for any given sensor and are compatible with most sensor element types including MEMS. It requires only three discreet passive components aside from the sensor elements, and outputs sensor data using a standard interface SPI protocol for host-interface convenience.

The SSP1401 is available in a bare die form or in a 5 x 5 mm sq., 28-pin MLF/QFN package that is RoHS compliant. Packaged devices are priced at $2.24 each in 1000 unit quantities. Samples and evaluation kits will be available in Q2 2007. The evaluation kit will feature a simple capacitive touch scroll sensor demo, an ARM-7 processor-based USB communication board boasting 256 KBytes of code-space memory for user program development, and data-acquisition software tools that allow data-logging, graphing and statistical analysis.


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