Renesas AI detects bathroom smells

  • June 23, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

Japanese electronics firm Renesas has embedded artificial intelligence (AI) into its sensor platform to enable smart odour sensing for ventilation systems, bathroom monitoring and controls, and air quality monitors.
The ZMOD4410 indoor air quality (IAQ) sensor combines neural network-trained firmware on various microcontrollers, such as the Renesas RL78, to provide higher resolution measurements. With these capabilities, the platform can not only detect gases that indicate the presence of odours in small enclosed rooms with higher accuracy and improved part-to-part deviation, but also distinguish between sulphur- and ethanol-based smells. The upgrades are the first in a family of AI-based firmware from Renesas.
“The IAQ market’s demand for higher accuracy, improved performance and greater flexibility to address application-specific requirements continues to rise, as customers prioritise part-to-part consistency for this market success,” said Uwe Guenther, senior director at Renesas. “Our multi-dimensional sensor approach enables the upgraded ZMOD4410 platform to be more accurate and selective by applying AI-based capabilities to smart sensing, which gives customers the high accuracy, high flexibility options they need to customise their ventilation and odour monitoring and control systems, and provide consumers with a more enjoyable environment.”
The software-configurable ZMOD platform provides design flexibility for smart sensing, allowing firmware upgrades in the field that enable new, application-specific capabilities such as selective measurements to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The firmware upgrades enable IAQ measurement within international guidelines, allowing users to measure total VOCs and IAQ in the low parts-per-million range.
The higher accuracy and consistency provides improved estimated carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. The AI firmware has been implemented on an RL78 device, but can also be implemented on any Renesas microcontroller – including RE, RA and RX devices – or other general-purpose microcontrollers.
The ZMOD4410’s combination of programmability, stability and sensitivity in measuring VOCs makes it suitable for a wide range of IAQ applications, including smart HVAC systems, ventilator fans, and bathroom lights and switches. It is based on metal oxide material and each sensor is electrically and chemically tested to ensure consistency from lot to lot. The devices are also resistant to siloxanes for reliable use in harsh applications.
The platform with AI and performance firmware is available now.