Chirp launches ultrasonic ToF sensors

Chirp launches ultrasonic ToF sensors

New Products |
By Peter Clarke

These MEMS-based sensors come in 3.5mm by 3.5mm packaging and include an ultrasound transducer and a custom SoC that handles signal processing.

Similar to a MEMS-based digital microphone, the CH-101 and CH-201 are offered in a 3.5mm LGA package, operate on a single 1.8V supply, and have a I2C interface. The sensor’s on-board microprocessor enables always-on operation for wake-up sensing applications; the total current consumption is just 8 µA when measuring 1 sample per second.

The CH-101 has a maximum sensing range of 1 meter and the long-range CH-201 has a maximum range of 5 meters. Both provide low-latency range measurements at sample rates up to 100 samples per second with position noise below 1mm. The sensors enable always-on sensing applications such as human presence, motion and activity sensing at power levels as low as 15 microwatts.

The CH-101 and CH-201 are currently sampling to qualified customers.

Suitable applications include automotive and industrial environment sensing including drones and robotics. Unlike optical ToF sensors, they work in direct sunlight. Unlike earlier ultrasonic sensors, Chirp’s ultrasonic sensors are also small and low-power enough for space-constrained consumer applications such as smartphones.

“Ultrasonic sensors are widely used in industrial and automotive applications because they are robust, accurate and reliable,” said Michelle Kiang, CEO of Chirp Microsystems, in a statement. “At Chirp, we invented a tiny, millimeter-sized ultrasound chip that can deliver the same performance as conventional sensors that are one thousand times bigger. As we reduced the size, we were also able to dramatically reduce the power consumption – to the point where you can run the sensor at a few micro-amps of current. This combination of small size, ultra-low power and ease-of-use opens ultrasonic sensing to a wide variety of products for the first time.”

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