4-In-1 Gas Sensor Enabled By AI For Sensing Wide Range Of Gases

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Allows straightforward customisation for specific use cases, such as detection of spoiled food, bad breath and forest fires

Whether at home, in the office or outdoors, there needs to be an assurance that the surrounding air is clean and safe to breathe. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of air quality. Due to the particulates, gases and even airborne viruses have become ubiquitously present in our modern environment, making air quality poorer, which creates an increasingly negative impact on our health and well-being.

To address this concern, the BME688, an air quality MEMS sensor combines gas, humidity, temperature and barometric pressure sensing with innovative artificial intelligence (AI) capability, creating a small four-in-one air quality measurement solution. This single device enables customers to reduce their total cost of ownership, cut their development time and simplify the design.

The new BME688 is ideal for the latest, customised applications, such as food spoilage detection and timely forest fire detection of gases present and tracking temperature and humidity changes. The sensor’s AI features and the new BME AI-Studio software tool make it straightforward for customers to rapidly develop custom solutions for their specific use cases. To further cut time to market, an Adafruit-compatible development kit is also available.

The BME688 features an updated gas sensor that comes with an extensive measurement range and sophisticated AI features. The gas sensor can detect the presence of many gases, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) and other gas types such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen, in the parts per billion (ppb) range.

“The BME688 combines reliable high-precision sensors with wide-ranging gas detection and innovative AI capabilities in a single package,” says Dr Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO at Bosch Sensortec. “This enables our customers to rapidly develop the next generation of applications designed to improve well-being, lifestyle and sustainability.”

For example, a customer may want to develop a sensor-based product that can detect spoiled food, which would be indicated by the VSCs produced by bacteria in the food. Similarly, bad breath or body odour could be detected based on the VSCs they produce.

The optimal approach is to collect indicative real-life data directly in the field. For instance, sampling gases in the vicinity of both fresh and decaying food create different combination models for the VSCs present in the given air sample. The BME688 is capable, by default, of very accurate detection of VSCs and the BME AI-Studio enables it to be optimised for other gas mixtures and applications.

By sampling gases in the field instead of the lab, the derived algorithms that are utilised by the new detection devices are far more reliable in evaluating actual conditions. Together with gas data, the BME688 simultaneously measures humidity, barometric pressure and temperature as supplementary data inputs for complete AI modelling.

In our example application, the customer categorises this mass of data and then applies it in the development of their AI model in the BME AI-Studio, essentially training the BME688 to recognise the tell-tale signs of bacterial growth on the food. Once the sensor is trained, the final AI code runs on a system microcontroller in the customer’s end product. This AI code is generally lightweight and will run quite easily on the existing microcontroller that handles system control and management tasks.

The BME688 has been developed for mobile and connected applications where size and low power consumption play a critical role. The sensor is housed in a compact package, measuring just 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.9 mm3. The current consumption can be configured between 2.1 μA and 11 mA depending on the required data rates and functions and can be optimised using the BME AI-Studio.

The BME688 is now available from Bosch Sensortec.


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