TDK announces availability of new MEMS-based “sonar on a silicon chip” ultrasonic Time-of-Flight sensor with extended sensing range

· Shipping to strategic customers, the CH-201 ultrasonic sensor will be available worldwide in Q2 2020

· Extending the Chirp SmartSonic™ platform, the CH-201 supports a maximum sensing range of 5 meters

· The device provides range-sensing with millimeter-precision at the industry’s lowest power consumption

TDK announces the immediate availability to select OEMs of the Chirp CH-201 MEMS-based ultrasonic Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor with extended sensing range. This ToF sensor utilizes a tiny ultrasonic transducer chip that sends a pulse of ultrasound and then listens for echoes returning from targets in the sensor’s field-of-view. By calculating the distance based on time of flight, the sensor can determine the location of an object relative to a device and trigger a programmed behavior.

TDK’s MEMS ultrasonic technology leverages a proprietary ToF sensor in a 3.5 mm x 3.5 mm package that combines a MEMS ultrasonic transducer with a power-efficient digital signal processor (DSP) on a custom low-power, mixed-signal CMOS ASIC. The sensor handles a variety of ultrasonic signal-processing functions, enabling customers’ flexible industrial design options for a broad range of use-case scenarios including range-finding, presence/proximity sensing, object detection/avoidance and 3D position-tracking.

Following last year’s introduction of CH-101, the first commercially available MEMS-based ultrasonic ToF sensor for consumer electronics, AR/VR, robotics, drones, IoT, automotive and industrial market segments, TDK is expanding the SmartSonic™ MEMS ultrasonic platform. This will include the CH-201 ultrasonic ToF sensor and associated software solution for room-scale sensing applications, enabling ultralow power, always-on sensing for human presence detection without privacy concerns, among many other use cases.

TDK’s MEMS ultrasonic ToF sensor platform offers numerous advantages over optical ToF sensors:

· Ultralow power operations for always-on sensing in battery powered devices

· Accurate range measurement regardless of target size or color; even optically transparent targets are accurately detected

· Immunity to ambient noise without perception by house pets

· Ability to operate in all lighting conditions, unlike IR sensors which do not work in direct sunlight

· Ensures eye safety, contrasting with laser-based IR ToF sensors

· Detects objects over a customizable field-of-view up to 180°, enabling a single sensor to support room-scale sensing

The CH-201 sensor is the continuation of our pioneering work in the development of piezoelectric-MEMS technology and low-power ASIC design, enabling high-performance, low-power ultrasonic sensing in a tiny package,” said Michelle Kiang, CEO, Chirp Microsystems, a TDK Company. “With CH-201 sensor’s extended sensing range, product designers have a new ToF sensor option available to enable new capabilities and create unique user experiences in a broad range of consumer products. Both the CH-101 and CH-201 sensors are being used by consumer brands in robotic vacuum cleaners, (smart) speakers, PCs, and many more products. TDK’s CH-101 is incorporated in our SonicTrack™ 6DoF controller tracking solution for HTC’s Vive Focus Plus mobile VR system, and we expect to see several new product launches powered by TDK’s MEMS ultrasonic products in the coming year.

The Chirp SmartSonic platform (CH-101, CH_101 module, and CH-101 developers kit) is available worldwide through distribution. CH-201 is entering into mass production and is currently shipping to select customers. TDK will showcase the Chirp CH-101 and CH-201 platform used in VR/AR, robotics and audio products applications, along with the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of passive components, sensors, power supplies and batteries, at CES 2020, booth #11448 in Central Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center, January 7-10, 2020 in Las Vegas.