Robust Barometric Pressure Sensor For Accurate Sensing In Wearables

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High level of protection against the ingression of water and other contaminion along with low-power battery consumption

Wearable fitness trackers are rapidly becoming popular as the barometric pressure sensor present inside them enables detection of changes in the user’s elevation for example when walking up or downstairs, or for calculating the number of calories burnt. However, many barometric pressure sensors are not resistant to liquids and thus it has been challenging to integrate them into waterproof products.

To address this issue, the BMP384 has been launched that offers high performance and low power consumption, making it ideal for wearables, home appliances and industrial applications in harsh environments.

The pressure sensor utilises a special gel for protection against the entry of liquids such as water, rain, sweat and sunscreen into the wearable. It is now straightforward for OEMs to integrate a barometric sensor into products requiring high robustness.

Despite its ruggedness, the BMP384 does not compromise on performance. It provides a relative accuracy of +/- 9 Pa, an absolute accuracy of +/- 50 Pa and a temperature coefficient offset (TCO) of +/- 1.0 Pa/K. With a power consumption of just 3.2mA at 1Hz data rate (typical), the sensor does not drain portable device batteries.

“Bosch has applied its many years of experience in creating reliable sensors for harsh environments into the design of the BMP384,” says Dr Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO at Bosch Sensortec. “Until now, engineers have faced significant challenges when designing barometric pressure sensors into applications involving water or other contaminants, frequently seeing performance degradation over the final product’s lifetime. This new sensor makes the design simpler and provides peace of mind.”

In addition to wearables, the sensor is also suitable for home appliances, for example, water level detection in washing machines for ensuring and flooding prevention. The BMP384 is very durable for dusty environments in use cases such as clog detection in vacuum cleaners.

Produced in a compact size of just 2.0 x 2.0 x 1mm3 (mm cube), the BMP384 enables seamless integration even into extremely small devices and is now available from Bosch Sensortec.


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