Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems is launching a Grid-EYE IR Array sensor evaluation kit this autumn that combines its ‘nanopower’ PAN1740 Bluetooth Smart module and a MCU on one PCB. By combining its IR sensor technology with Bluetooth technology and software for IR detection of people and objects on one board, Panasonic enables customers to develop rapid prototypes and quickly build their own wireless sensor IoT applications.
Grid-EYE is an IR array sensor and the first ever 64px IR camera in an all-in-one compact SMD package. Based on Panasonic’s MEMS technology, Grid-EYE combines the MEMS sensor chip, a digital ASIC and a silicon lens. It has 64 thermopile elements in an 8x8 grid format that detect absolute surface temperature without any contact. Unlike conventional sensors, Grid-EYE uses a patented 60° silicon lens etched out of a silicon wafer, which is the smallest available lens in the market. The combination of these modern and sophisticated technologies from Panasonic enables to reduce the sensor package size to only 11.6x8x4.3mm, which is around 70% smaller in size than competitor products. Compared to pyroelectric sensors, it is not only possible to detect moving people and objects but also the position and presence of motionless people and objects, the direction of movements and the accurate surface temperature from -20 up to +100°C. With this wide range of temperature measurement, Panasonic is able to reach a NETD of ±0.5°C at room temperature.
With these features, the Grid-EYE sensor opens the door to a huge variety of new applications, ranging from energy savings in the lighting industry, domestic appliances, safety and security systems, and the medical industry. Further examples include hot-spot detection, human detection inside vehicles for consumer comfort and contactless temperature measurement in industrial applications. Grid-EYE is also able to detect people and effectively differentiate them from other heat sources such as displays or heaters. Moreover, as Grid-EYE is an IR sensor, detection of people is measured almost independent of ambient light conditions. Another significant advantage of the Grid-EYE sensor is that its use does not intrude on personal privacy, unlike cameras.
The integrated Bluetooth module in the evaluation kit, PAN1740 is a single-mode Bluetooth Smart SoC module optimised for low power and small size 9.0x9.5x1.8mm. The SMD component benefits from a fully shielded case, chip antenna, and integrated crystal oscillators. The low 4.9mA power consumption allows the use of coin cell batteries and decreases battery requirements by up to 50% when compared to other BLE devices currently on the market.
Alexander Hoch, Team Leader, Circuit Components, Device Solutions Business Division, Panasonic, comments: “With the launch of Grid-EYE evaluation kit we make our Grid-EYE sensor along with an innovative IR people detection software available for the first time to the end customer. We have developed a PC software and a smartphone app to be provided to the customers to test our sensor in different ways with various applications. This paves the way for designers to use the advantages of Grid-EYE in combination with Bluetooth Technology and we are expecting to see some very innovative wireless IoT applications being developed by our customer base, thanks to the speed and simplicity offered by our evaluation kit.”