Sensor Platforms Introduces Multi-Sensor Interface IC

SAN JOSE, CA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sensor Platforms, a leader in IC-based sensor interface solutions, announced the introduction of the SSP1401 Multi-Channel LRC Sensor Interface chip. The SSP1401 provides a low-cost and user configurable design solution to applications requiring the interfacing of single or multiple sensors of various signal types and functionalities including resistive, capacitive, inductive, piezoelectric and pulse-count based sensor elements.

The SSP1401 is specifically designed to address the next generation of high volume sensor opportunities, particularly where multi-sensor fusion capability is vital to enable the application solution. As an example, the SSP1401 is a single chip platform that can directly interface to a dual-axis magneto-resistive magnetometer sensor to implement an electronic compass function, while at the same time providing altimeter information via a capacitive pressure sensor, both of which are functions that have become so popular in numerous digital sports wristwatches. To this end, the SSP1401's true 1.8V operation (1.6V to 3.6V) combined with its ultra-low power consumption and cost effectiveness make it a natural fit for any battery powered mobile platform seeking to add more value by leveraging the capability of sensors. The SSP1401 brings immediate benefit to sensor applications in the consumer, computer, industrial and automotive markets. Sensor Platforms has been especially sensitive to its industrial and automotive customers' requirements for functionality over extended temperature ranges and has purposely designed the SSP1401 to operate from –40° to +125°C.

The SSP1401 has six user-configurable sensor drive channels that can each drive up to 60 mA for any given sensor and are compatible with most sensor element types including MEMS. This means that up to any combination of six resistive, capacitive, inductive or piezoelectric sensors can be driven by a single SSP1401. SSP1401 would be the perfect answer for a laundry list of sensor applications and technologies, including resistive temperature and gas sensors, capacitive viscometer sensors, capacitive and resistive liquid-level sensors, capacitive dielectric-measurement sensors, capacitive touch sensors, resistive conductivity measurement sensors, resistive and inductive magnetic sensors, resistive and capacitive accelerometers and pressure sensors, LVDT's and so on.

Fully integrated, the SSP1401 requires only three discreet passive components aside from the sensor elements, thus saving design complexity, board space and cost. It boasts true low-voltage operation and can function directly off of a power supply range of 1.6 to 3.6 volts, while dissipating a low operating current of less than 0.5 mA (depending upon the sensor load and sampling rate). In sleep mode, the SSP1401 dissipates less than 200nA. The chip's dynamic signal range is 24 bits and it has a 13 bit effective number of bits (ENOB) rating, which also makes it a very high performance device from a signal to noise perspective.

The SSP1401 outputs sensor data using a standard serial peripheral interface (SPI) protocol which makes it very convenient for any host system to interface to it.

Mr. George Hsu, Sensor Platforms' founder and Chief Technology Officer said, "We created the SSP1401 to be just the right solution for the low-cost, high-volume sensor market. Our deeply embedded solution keeps the cost of the SSP1401 extremely low for its high level of functionality by substituting a powerful yet efficient dedicated state-machine to do what otherwise would have required by a microprocessor. In today's highly competitive environment, it's not just about getting sensor-based products to market quickly, but also at the lowest possible price points.

Price and Delivery
The SSP1401 is available in a bare die form or in a 5 x 5 mm sq., 28-pin MLF/QFN package that is compatible with the European Union's Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (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. Cost of the evaluation kit will be $199 each and will be in stock and available also as of Q2 2007.

About Sensor Platforms
Sensor Platforms Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company, located in San Jose, CA, that provides standard and custom mixed-signal IC solutions to sensor manufacturers and system integrators. We are unique because we understand the needs of the interface IC not only from a mixed-signal perspective, but also from the level of the system and the sensor. Our unique combination of experience in mixed-signal and analog IC design, sensor knowledge, and system level application requirements enable us to add value at each stage of sensor application deployment, from sensor specific analog blocks to DSP and algorithm engines to embedded firmware.