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MEMS sensor adds gas detection for the Internet of Things

20th January 2015

Posted By Paul Boughton


Bosch Sensortec has expended its family of micromachined MEMS environmental sensors with a gas sensor for air pressure, humidity and ambient air temperature sensing in a single 3.0 x 3.0 mm package, writes Nick Flaherty.

The BME680 environmental sensor enables multiple new capabilities for portable and mobile devices such as air quality measurement, personalised weather stations, indoor navigation, fitness monitoring, home automation and other applications for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The gas sensor within the BME680 can detect a broad range of gases in order to measure indoor air quality for personal well being, including Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) from paints (such as formaldehyde), lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, furnishings, office equipment, glues, adhesives and alcohol.

“Our latest, integrated environmental sensor provides the opportunity to deliver differentiated mobile devices,” said Dr Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec. “With its high accuracy, low power consumption and tiny package, the BME680 enables developers to integrate new functionality within their products in an efficient and cost-saving manner.”

With its combination of four sensors in one package, the BME680 provides the accurate, detailed real-world data required for many IoT applications. Expected uses include smart homes, smart offices and buildings, smart energy, smart transportation, HVAC, elderly care and sport/fitness applications.

The BME680 builds on the success of Bosch Sensortec’s existing BME280 environmental sensor module. By integrating a new gas sensor, the BME680 delivers superior environmental measurement performance, made possible by the internal compensation and calibration of the gas, pressure, temperature and humidity sensors. The gas sensor can detect Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) down to the ppm range.

The BME680’s pressure accuracy of ±0.12 Pa provides precise altitude information to ±1m, making it ideally suited for applications such as indoor navigation with floor level tracking. Additionally, the best-in-class response time for measurement of humidity and ambient temperature enables new applications such as personalised weather information and air quality monitoring for well being in the home.

An offset temperature coefficient of only 1.5 Pa/K enables altitude stability over temperature of 12.6 cm/K. This is important in applications requiring the user’s vertical position within a building over a wide range of ambient temperatures.

The BME680 is equipped with both I2C and SPI communication interfaces. Three power modes and oversampling rates for pressure and temperature measurements that can be configured separately help designers to easily adapt the BME680 to different applications. An integrated IIR filter eliminates short-term measurement fluctuations caused by potential environmental influences. Proven settings are available for specific applications such as weather logging or indoor navigation.

The BME680 is housed in a 3 x 3 x 0.93mm LGA metal lid package and samples are scheduled to be available to selected customers within the first quarter of 2015.









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