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Electric potential sensor under development

Posted: 16 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:electric potential? sensor? power? voltmeter?

Strickland added: "We think the base technology is highly compatible with CMOS but to combine sensors and wireless we might choose to go system-in-package."

The University of Sussex EPS technology is in the final stages of being granted worldwide patent coverage. It is intrinsically stable and does not need calibration, Plessey said

First apps
Most places on Earth have a vertical electric field of about 100V/m. The human body is mostly water and this interacts with the electric field. EPS technology is so sensitive that it can detect these changes at a distance and even through a solid wall. Thus, for example, in a fire situation, it could be possible to determine if there any people in a smoke filled room before opening the door.

The initial application areas for EPS will be in medical and sports. Key to this is that EPS detects the voltage change in muscles and nerves without electrical contact so there is no need to have electrodes on or in the body to detect current changes.

The initial sensors were hand-made by the University of Sussex to test and improve the EPS technology. These are currently the size of a small coin. Plessey Semiconductors will be developing and manufacturing next generation, silicon based sensors at its facility in Roborough, England. Plessey will integrate discrete components into an SoC with appropriate MCUs and software.

The next phase to be developed by Plessey and Sussex will be multi-element sensor arrays that will enable 3D video imaging to be created with effectively each sensor generating a pixel of information, which will open up broader application areas.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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