IC processes signals for multiple sensors

By Control Engineering Staff August 22, 2005

Sensor Platforms Inc. offers SSP1492 Sensor Signal Processor Integrated Circuit, said to be a low-cost, low-power, flexible sensor signal drive, acquisition, and processing platform that en-ables easy development, cost-effective manufacturing, and improved time-to-market of sensor applications. It uses proprietary technologies that enable direct and simultaneous interfacing to a broad selection of sensor-element types. At introduction, SSP1492 was the only monolithic IC solution that simultaneously works with multiple resistive, capacitive, inductive, voltage, and pulsed sensor elements (MEMS and bulk-based) using the same chip, the company said.

A high-speed pipelined 8051 microcontroller core and up to 15 sensor input channels allow for highly flexible multi-sensor configurations, especially where applications call for the collaborative processing of multiple mixed sensor inputs, such as tilt-compensated digital compassing, the company said. Additional features include two powerful hardware math engines and a software floating-point engine for high-order output linearization and temperature compensation, a band-gap voltage regulator for power source stability, and an SPI/I2C serial data communication proto-col for interfacing to a host processor. An on-board RC oscillator with an external clock option for high accuracy applications, data EEPROM for non-volatile storage of factory calibration coef-ficients and user settings, and user-customizable firmware memory space further enhance per-formance, flexibility, and product development cost. It has operating voltage as low as 2.3 V, low power consumption, and hardware-based SPI/I2C serial data interface for applications where cost, size, power consumption, and time to market are critical factors.

George Hsu, Sensor Platforms president and chief executive officer, told Control Engineering the SSP1492 allows customers to customize applications and reduce application development time up to 90%, compared to alternatives. In a statement Hsu added: “The bottom line is that we can pro-vide the customer with the best of both worlds… ASIC performance at standard part prices with immediate availability.” The product also eliminates costly non-recurring engineering and im-proves sensor performance with up to 24-bit resolution, he said. SSP1492 Sensor Signal Processor is available in die and multiple packaged forms. Unit die prices start at $3.65 in 1,000 piece quantities with significant price breaks for larger quantity orders. Evaluation kit is $395. Sensor Platforms is based in Santa Rosa, CA.

—Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief, Control Engineering, MHoske@cfemedia.com