Sensors

ALPS commences mass production of digital pressure sensor

7th April 2016
Jordan Mulcare

ALPS has added a low current consumption model to its HSPPAD series of digital pressure sensors suitable for integration into smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. The 'HSPPAD042A' digital pressure sensor is available in mass production.

Smartphones, tablets and wearable electronics are more sophisticated and functional than ever before and their range of uses keeps expanding as different kinds of software and applications emerge to enable features such as navigation, health management and logging of sports data. Greater diversity and sophistication of software and applications also demands higher performance from devices incorporated into the products.

At the same time, it increases the power requirement and so another major challenge is to reduce the current consumption of CPUs and component devices. Sensors need to be not only power-efficient but also more compact given the higher number of parts integrated. ALPS has responded to these needs, developing and adding to an existing product series the HSPPAD042A digital pressure sensor, which achieves low power consumption and high precision.

After a major overhaul to optimize the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), the HSPPAD042A achieves the industry’s lowest (according to ALPS Electric Research as of February 2016) current consumption level (1.8µA in Low Power mode) and high sensing precision (absolute pressure accuracy: ±0.7hPa, relative pressure accuracy: ±0.05hPa). Measuring only 2.0x2.5x0.9mm, the HSPPAD042A additionally realises space savings of approximately 20% compared to the mounting area of existing Alps products.

This is the result of changes to the internal configuration of the sensor made using process and simulation technologies built up through development of heads for hard disk drives. The sensor even incorporates temperature compensation circuitry and a 16-step FIFO, helping to reduce the design workload of end-product manufacturers.

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