Plessey launches ultra-low cost version of EPIC electric potential
15 June 2012
Plymouth-based Plessey Semiconductors has released an
ultra-low cost version of its award-winning EPIC sensor that provides
remote electric field sensing for high volume consumer markets.
A novel electrode design has been devised to replace the
expensive titanium dioxide electrodes currently used for the higher
end, medical applications of EPIC technology.
sensor, going by the catchy name PS25451, is an ultra-high
impedance, non-contact, solid state electric potential sensor that
can be used for a variety of consumer electronic devices such as
proximity switching of lighting, gesture-based remote control of
interactive toys, computer games, TVs, monitors, other appliances
and presence detection for security/alarm systems.
EPIC sensor is a completely new area of sensor technology and works
by measuring tiny changes in an electric field in a similar way to a
magnetometer detecting changes in a magnetic field even at a
distance and through clothing. This enables it to be used for
security motion sensors and non-contact electrical switches as well
as medical applications detecting heart beats, nerve and muscle
activity either by dry contact (ie no gels required) or contactless.
Dr. Keith Strickland, Plessey's Technology Director, explained,
"EPIC sensors can be used in an extremely wide variety of
applications so we have created a product family that enables
customers to select the most appropriate sensor solution according
the application's requirements for cost, operational range and
sensitivity. The new electrode design for the PS25451 is formed on
the copper track of the circuit board that is then covered by the
normal protective resist."
EPIC sensors are already in
commercial production by Plessey Semiconductors. By adjusting the
gain and bandwidth amplification circuitry, the sensors can be tuned
for detection at a distance as required.
Production pricing for the PS25451 is less than $1 in volumes
above 50,000. It is supplied in a custom 3D package with exposed
pins for surface mount assembly and measures 10mm x 10mm x 2mm,
which is also pin compatible with the existing PS25401 EPIC sensor.