Software defined magnet brings new sensor options

Paul Boughton

Correlated Magnetics Research (CMR) has teamed up with AKM Semiconductor on a novel approach to magnet sensor controls, Nick Flaherty writes.

CMR’s Polymagnet technology removes the limits imposed by conventional magnetics through a unique software-defined magnet with a custom control pattern. With any magnet shape or magnetic pattern, magnetic sensing creates a sophisticated feel and increases the reliability of consumer electronics.

CMR Polymagnets can be tuned for the demands of the application and can precisely match the capabilities of AKM’s easy-to-integrate sensors.

“The breakthrough we have demonstrated is the combination of AKM Semiconductor’s industry-leading magnetic sensors with Correlated Magnetics’ unique ability to engineer magnetic fields with unparalleled precision for sensing plus the mechanical feel of the human interface,” said Chris Baltar, Technical Marketing Manager of Magnetic Sensors at AKM Semiconductor. “The combination will enable both increased precision as well as new applications in the magnetic sensor market.”

An example application consists of a transmitter and receiver for a wireless remote switch and dimmer system. On the transmitter, the dimmer position is detected using AKM’s rotational Hall effect sensor that detects its position using a circular magnet magnetised with different concentric circles.

The outer circle is comprised of a precisely defined magnetic pattern that is sensed by the sensor and the inner circles deliver a tuned mechanical feel at precise rotational positions. The position of the dimmer is transmitted to a receiver, which down-converts the signal for a microprocessor. The entire solution will be packaged as a complete, easy to use application reference design from AKM Semiconductor.

“AKM Semiconductor has a long history of pioneering new technology and we value the opportunity pair our cutting-edge magnet technology with their smart sensor technology,” said Andy Keane, Correlated Magnetics CEO. “The powerful combination of an industry leading sensor company with CMR’s software defined magnetisation will drive innovation in sensors for consumer products.”