Melexis Unveils Software-Defined Sensor

Ultra flexible, magnetic sensing solution gives engineers carte blanche in HMI implementation through breadth of programmable parameters

11 November 2014 - Tessenderlo, Belgium. Melexis introduces a new, fully programmable, extremely compact sensor IC capable of accurately measuring changes in magnetic flux density along its X, Y and Z axes. Based on the company’s proprietary Triaxis® technology, the MLX90393 provides almost unlimited scope with which all manner of human machine interface implementations can be accomplished - from joystick, slide switches, push/pull switches, levelers, linear swipe switches and rotary knobs, right through to complex 3D position sensing systems. Suitable for micropower applications, the IC draws just 2.5 µA of current when idle. It employs a monolithic pixel cell arrangement and has a 16-bit resolution output.

Using its SPI and I2C interfaces, engineers can access the MLX90393’s various operating modes; continuous; single measurement; wake up on change and burst mode. In addition, the device’s settings can be adjusted at runtime as required by the application needs. The burst mode duty cycle programmable range spans between 0.1% and 100%. By having it higher, fast response time applications can be served. Conversely, by having a lower duty cycle the current consumption can be curbed at supply voltages as low as 2.2 V.

“It is not difficult to find magnetic sensors on the market with linear sensing ranges up to ±2 mT, mainly targeting compass applications. The MLX90393 however is the first 3D magnetometer enabling a linear sensitivity across a selectable 16-bit full-scale range from ±5 mT up to ±50 mT. This makes it highly suited to position sensing and shows one of the most important strengths of integrated Hall-effect technology," explains Bruno Boury, Product Line Manager for Magnetic Sensing at Melexis.

“This device opens up a host of new possibilities to sensing system design in both consumer and industrial sectors,” he continues , “It has the capability to capture precise measurement data on the magnetic field in X, Y and Z directions, as well as temperature T, or any combination of these. Trade-offs can be made between power consumption, speed and signal integrity. The multitude of options that result from its array of programmable functions make this device unsurpassed in its versatility.”

Supporting an operational temperature range of -40 °C to +85 °C, the MLX90393 is supplied in a 3 x 3 mm QFN package