Boards/Backplanes

Modular solutions enable competitive advantage

1st July 2022
Paige West

The requirements of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the Internet of Everything (IoE) for economic and ecological efficiency, accuracy, functionality, and comfort, and safety, all increase with the possibilities enabled by new and further specified components.

This article originally appeared in the June'22 magazine issue of Electronic Specifier Design – see ES's Magazine Archives for more featured publications.

The integration of a sensor requires a comprehensive understanding of the overall system. Accordingly, developments of smart applications take more time to reach actual marketability. Rutronik, combining the most suitable products under Rutronik System Solutions, based on their properties and performance, can create innovative approaches.

The RDK2 and the RAB1 – Sensor Fusion are two examples of these modular solutions, which can be used to develop proof-of-concepts within a very short time and thus significantly shorten the time-to-market. Among other things, these two boards will give developers new inspiration for the development of best-fit products.

The development kit ‘RDK2’ is a complete solution for firmware and hardware developers: the board is based on the PSoC62 from Infineon Cypress. This microcontroller has a dual-core CPU and is ideal for secure edge computing as well as cloud applications. The PSoC62 has an integrated power management IC for SMPS for different power and voltage supply options. With the PSoC 6 microcontroller family, Infineon offers the market a platform for IoT applications that combines connectivity, increased computing performance, and security with low power consumption and cost.

User friendly and flexible

The board's new and unique butterfly design allows for improved handling. This ensures user-friendly access to the Arduino connectors and reduces potential interference from electromagnetic effects, especially with RF IoT Arduino Shields. The integrated potentiometer can be used to test the analogue-to-digital conversion. A special feature of the product is that the user can access all pins of the PSoC62 via the Arduino headers. Additionally, Infineon's capacitive sensing technology (Cap Sense) has been integrated, creating a touch surface that can be used as a slider. It offers numerous useful features and interfaces and convinces with its high flexibility in terms of application possibilities

With the RAB1 – Sensorfusion Board, 1 + 1 becomes four

To enable a more comprehensive analysis of a complex overall system, sensory data from different physical or chemical measured variables can be combined and analysed in their entirety. In this process, known as sensor fusion, new information is obtained through the targeted combination of measurement data with special mathematical algorithms of individual sensor values. With the RAB1 – Sensorfusion Board, Rutronik has developed its own approach for machine learning-based sensor fusion, in which the measured data from the sensors can be combined as desired. In addition, this board can be used together with the RDK2 to operate sensor fusion using the PSoC62.

Innovation

For the RAB1 – Sensorfusion Board, the distributor can rely on the innovative power of Bosch SE, Infineon and Sensirion, which is integrated on the board in the form of a wide variety of sensors.

The BME688 from Bosch SE plays a special role on the Sensorfusion Board. This is the first gas sensor with artificial intelligence and integrated highly linear and accurate pressure, humidity, and temperature sensors. Its gas scanning capability, adjustable for sensitivity, selectivity, data rate and power consumption, makes it possible to detect both volatile organic compounds (VOCs), volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), and other gases such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the ppb range. Ruggedness, a compact size of 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.9mm³, and low power consumption are other compelling features for board integration.

The BMI 270 from Bosch SE is an inertial measurement unit (IMU) for intuitive gesture, context, and activity recognition. As an ultra-low-power IMU, it is particularly efficient in terms of system battery life. This is made possible by its independence from the system's main processor, which nevertheless allows multiple functions. Especially powerful and precise gesture, as well as activity recognition functions, run in the ultra-low power range. The power consumption of only 30 μA enables longer battery charging intervals for users. On the Sensorfusion board, the device is used for motion detection.

With the BMP390, Bosch SE controls a very small, low-power and low-noise 24-bit absolute barometer sensor for height measurement applications. For the integration on the RAB1, on the one hand, the special design flexibility due to the compact 10-inch housing (2.00 x 2.00mm, 0.75mm LAG) and on the other hand the wide measuring ranges from 300 hPA to 1250 hPA are significant. This sensor offers particularly high precision for outdoor and indoor navigation and localisation applications.

From Infineon comes the DPS310, a miniaturised, digital, barometric air pressure sensor with high accuracy and low power consumption that can measure both pressure and temperature. Based on a capacitive measurement principle, the pressure sensor element guarantees high precision in the event of temperature changes. A special feature here is its internal signal processor, which converts the output of the pressure and temperature sensor element into 24-bit results. Each unit is calibrated individually, and the calculated coefficients are stored in the calibration registers. This enables precise measurement results. The result FIFO can store up to 32 measurement results, which reduces the load on the host processor.

The integrated SHT41-AD1B-R2 humidity sensor comes from Sensirion. Here, digital humidity and temperature sensors provide consistent temperature accuracy over a wide measurement range. This sensor requires extremely little energy and comes in a small QFN package of 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.5mm3. Of particular interest is its ability to function over a wide operating range of 0% to 100% RH and -40°C to +125°C.

With the Sensirion SGP40-D-R4, the RAB1 - Sensorfusion Board has an additional VOC gas sensor. The indoor air quality sensor is an integrated CMOSens sensor system on a single chip, based on a metal oxide sensor. Due to the MOXSens technology used, this sensor impresses with its long-term stability in terms of sensitivity and response time. The use of special materials and micro hotplate technology makes the sensor extremely energy efficient.

Range of combination options

The modular solutions are particularly suitable for applications in the areas of IoT and the IIoT as well as wearables, smart city and smart home applications where an exact mapping of the environment is required.

The RAB1 – Sensorfusion Board, as well as the other boards realised under Rutronik System Solutions, such as the Adapter Board – Text To Speech, the RAB2 – CO2 or the HMS Anybus, can be stacked on the RDK2. In addition, all boards can be combined with each other, which provides even more possibilities for development. All components used for the boards are also available in Rutronik's portfolio.

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