Infineon reveals sensors and announces AWS deal

  • November 16, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

At last week’s virtual Electronica conference, German electronics company Infineon Technologies presented a sensor portfolio with a focus on smart buildings and consumer life, and a partnership with Klika Tech and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Due to Covid-19, the observation of indoor air quality has become more important. CO2 is a key parameter for indoor air quality that correlates directly with the aerosols through which the virus is transmitted.

Smart ventilation and warning systems equipped with the Xensiv PAS CO2 sensor from Infineon can help reduce the risk of an infection due to indoor airborne transmission. They warn of poor air quality or provide the necessary fresh air supply. But regardless of the pandemic, the measurement of the sensor can improve the awareness for indoor air quality and thus increase well-being and productivity, whether in the office, at school or at home.

Based on photoacoustic spectroscopy (PAS), the sensor measures the CO2 content in the room air precisely. It uses a sensitive acoustic detector, designed for low frequencies. The PAS principle enables a reduction in size by up to 75 per cent space compared with conventional CO2 sensors. The directly emitted ppm values and the optimised design allow easier integration, which is suitable for high-volume production applications.

Evaluation boards will be available via distributors in the first half of next year. The sensor itself will be available through distributors by mid 2021.

To control the various elements of a smart building optimally, such as ventilation, lighting systems, screens, automatic doors, smart home devices or security systems including cameras, devices must detect motions in the surroundings accurately. For this, Infineon has developed an integrated autonomous 60GHz radar sensor enhancing control by sensitive motion detection.

The radar demo board with the Xensiv BGT60LTR11AIP from Infineon is an integrated microwave motion sensor with built-in antennas. The all-in-one device comes in a small package and does require RF expertise nor external signal processing when implemented. Therefore, it can simplify the design-in and shorten the time to market.

The device is said to have numerous advantages over classic PIR-based motion sensors such as higher sensitivity, which lets it detect smaller movements and proximity direction. Radar also allows detection through non-metallic materials, increasing design flexibility.

The radar demo kit can be ordered now; the single chip will be available in spring 2021.

Sensor systems also play an important role in monitoring the condition of equipment in smart buildings to enable predictive maintenance. Mounted inside or outside the respective devices, they collect data on different parameters that reflect the operating status of the devices. Examples are airflow monitoring with barometric air pressure sensors in HVAC devices, current measurement in motor drives with current sensors, or the detection of sound anomalies and vibration measurements with MEMS microphones.

This allows deviations from the defined, optimal condition to be detected early and in real time and maintenance to be triggered in time. Thus, unforeseen failures, which can lead to high costs, lower productivity, equipment downtime or even health problems for employees and customers, can be prevented.

With this in mind, Infineon has built a demonstrator for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of HVAC. The demonstrator was developed with Klika Tech and uses AWS. It demonstrates the potential of sensors for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance of smart buildings.

To enable situation-dependent functions, these smart HVAC units also use the above-mentioned CO2 and radar sensors, which create more contextual awareness. This can improve energy efficiency by eliminating the need for unnecessary continuous operation.