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The pressure to succeed in the IoT: Bosch Sensotec’s tiny, accurate Barometric Pressure Sensor

When I first heard of this announcement, I thought, “OK, another pressure sensor”, but as I learned more from Bosch about their new sensor, the BMP380, being the smallest (2mm x 2mm x o.75mm), most accurate and low power consumption device, it occurred to me that this timely CES announcement at the start of 2017 was a strong indication of the beginning of a new era of applications for this type of sensor.

Drones: FAA opens the door a little wider in 2016

In June 2016, new drone rules from the Federal Aviation Administration have limited small, commercial drone operations to daylight hours and require operators to get certified every two years.

The FAA, in June 2016 had already granted special permission for more than 5,300 commercial drone uses while it developed the final rules. This action opened the floodgates to tens of thousands more because drone operators won't need to seek case-by-case approval.

Also specified in the Federal Aviation Regulations Part 107, commercial operators are allowed to request waivers from the stated regulatory restrictions. On Aug. 29th 2016, the Federal Aviation Authority approved 76 such waivers.

Altitude stabilization in drones is critical to not violating FAA altitude operation laws as well as improved flight stability and improved accuracy in landing. Plus commercial usage of drones requires such functions as auto level mode for maintaining the drone's horizontal orientation, a constant altitude mode, or an orbit mode for circling around a specific point.

With Bosch wide breadth of products to provide a full design solution for drone control, designers will find quick time to market with a robust solution to which they can add their special functionality, see this application as an example.

More freedom will come to commercial drone operators in 2017 for sure.

Why is altitude tracking in wearables important?

I know that altitude trackers are important in location applications in multi-level structures for floor detection and enhanced GPS location accuracy, but what I did not think about wearable fitness trackers being more accurate in calculating calorie consumption of the user if they could know that the user is climbing stairs or walking/running up a hill.

Technical features

The design expertise and feature additions that went into this Bosch product is what makes it so useful.

One such addition was that pressure and temperature data can be stored in the built-in FIFO of 512 bytes. This new FIFO and interrupt functionality will give simple access to data and storage. This will greatly improve ease of use while helping to reduce power consumption to only 2.7µA at 1Hz during full operation.

The sensor accuracy has been significantly improved over its predecessors, covering a wide measurement range from 300 hPA to 1250 hPA. Tests in real-life environments have verified a relative accuracy of +/-0.06 hPa (+/-0.5m) over a temperature range from 25o C to 40o C. The absolute accuracy between 300 and 1100 hPa is +/- 0.5 hPa over a temperature range from 0o C to 65o C.

We can expect more innovative products to come from Bosch Sensortec In 2017 as the IoT application emerge with new and exciting solutions to make this world a better place.

3 comments on “The pressure to succeed in the IoT: Bosch Sensotec’s tiny, accurate Barometric Pressure Sensor

  1. voyagesbooth
    January 9, 2017

    This post is well describe for the pressure to succeed in the IoT: Bosch Sensotec's tiny, accurate Barometric Pressure Sensor. 

  2. eliott74
    January 9, 2017

    We have heard so much that now at its release, the breath has fallen

  3. Victor Lorenzo
    January 22, 2017

    Steve, the first time I heard about this new sensor, a while ago, I found it interesting for applications in scientific research and automatic weather observation systems.

    It has a few interesting fetures like its small size, its very low power consumption and its relatively easy interface with the MCU. But in my opinion what made it unsuitable for the application I was evaluating was its limited temperature range (0ºC -to- 60ºC), it introduced the requirement of providing a temperature controlled chamber in the device with its associated increase in power consumption.

    Never the less it fits perfectly in applications like drones and wearables (provided you don't wear it during winter).

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