We hear every day that the Internet of things and billions of MEMS and sensors will be added to our environment, but please don’t forget that without proper signal conditioning of MEMS sensor interface, we will only send useless data to the processor that can’t reflect the relevant results of users.

First of all, circuit designers need to have good tools. An outstanding solution launched in 2016 is maxrefdes100, the wearable integrated health sensor platform of Maxim. Designers have to get the design to market quickly. This solution takes into account the numerous ICs that need to be integrated into a complete MEMS and sensor tuning front end. The solution also has linearization and calibration circuits such as a programmable gain amplifier (PGA) to accommodate a whole set of sensors. We expect to see more of these types of complete designer solution tools in 2017.

Maxrefdes100 integrated health sensor platform based on wearable devices#

Human machine interface (HMI) is another part of the sensor that needs design and adjustment support. One of the new areas of sensors is the design of inductive metal touch buttons. Texas Instruments has a unique inductor to digital converter (LDC) solution in this field, and has many application examples, tutorials and demonstration boards. We will see more about the evolution of this new sensor in 2017 – because of the particularity of this special sensor, it will need special conditioning.

Automotive ADAS solutions emerge in an endless stream in 2016, and sensors related to automobiles need specific sensor conditioning, especially when it comes to autonomous driving vehicles. Although we will not see fully autonomous vehicles in the next few years, ADAS solutions are gradually increasing in the automotive electronics industry every year. We will see more of these solutions in 2017.

A good data acquisition system (DAS) needs a wide dynamic range and very low distortion, as well as appropriate ADC interface input signal conditioning. How to design a − 130 dB ultra low distortion data acquisition system provides excellent technical guidance for circuit designers. Simulator suppliers will provide improved solutions in this area in 2017.

The proportional measurement data of resistance temperature detector (RTD) is precisely obtained by special analog front end (AFE) design (such as the design in the article “analog front end design considerations for RTD ratiometric measurements” of ADI company). What about the unique “one wire interface over power pin for sensor signal conditioner calibration” proposed by Texas Instruments? Compared with the traditional two-wire interface, this communication interface for signal conditioning design can use one wire interface (OWI) to save one wire. From the perspective of cost and performance, to make the Internet of things really practical, we need to create more unique solutions, and we should see a lot in 2017.

Editor in charge: PJ

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