New Grid-EYE infrared array sensor Evaluation Kit from Panasonic set to launch this autumn enables fast prototyping of IoT applications

September 07, 2015 Press Release

Integrated ”nanopower” Bluetooth Smart module, software and microcontroller enable easy development of new wireless sensor applications within days

Munich, September 2015: Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems is launching a Grid-EYE Infrared (IR) Array sensor Evaluation Kit this autumn that combines its ”nanopower” PAN1740 Bluetooth Smart module and a microcontroller on one PCB. By combining its new IR sensor technology with Bluetooth technology and software for IR detection of people and objects on one board, Panasonic enables customers to develop rapid prototypes and quickly build their own wireless sensor “Internet of Things” applications.

Alexander Hoch, Team Leader Circuit Components, Panasonic Device Solutions Business Division comments: “With the launch of Grid-EYE evaluation kit we make our state-of-the-art Grid-EYE sensor along with an innovative IR people detection software (including basic API and image processing) available for the first time to the end customer. We have developed a PC software and a smartphone app to be provided to the customers to test our sensor in different ways with various applications. This paves the way for designers to use the advantages of Grid-EYE in combination with Bluetooth Technology and we are expecting to see some very innovative wireless IoT applications being developed by our customer base, thanks to the speed and simplicity offered by our new evaluation kit.”

Grid-EYE is an infrared array sensor and the first ever 64 pixel IR camera in an all-in-one compact SMD package. Based on Panasonic’s MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Systems) technology, Grid-EYE combines the MEMS sensor chip, a digital ASIC (I2C interface) and a silicon lens. It has 64 thermopile elements in an 8x8 grid format that detect absolute surface temperature without any contact. Unlike conventional sensors, Grid-EYE uses a patented 60° silicon lens etched out of a silicon wafer, which is (with less than 0.3mm height) the smallest available lens in the market. The combination of these modern and sophisticated technologies from Panasonic enables to reduce the sensor package size to only 11.6mm x 8mm x 4.3mm, which is around 70 % smaller in size than competitor products. Compared to pyroelectric sensors, it is not only possible to detect moving people and objects but also the position and presence of motionless people and objects, the direction of movements and the accurate surface temperature from -20°C up to +100°C. With this wide range of temperature measurement Panasonic is able to reach a NETD (Noise equivalent temperature difference) of +/- 0.5°C at room temperature.

With these features, the Grid-EYE sensor opens the door to a huge variety of new applications, ranging from energy savings in the lighting industry, domestic appliances (e.g. air conditioners, microwave ovens), safety and security systems (e.g. lifts, automatic doors, elevators, kiosks), and the medical industry (e.g. patient fall detection and patient positioning). Further examples include hot-spot detection, human detection inside vehicles for consumer comfort and contactless temperature measurement in industrial applications. Grid-EYE is also able to detect people and effectively differentiate them from other heat sources such as displays or heaters. Moreover as Grid-EYE is an infrared sensor, detection of people is measured almost independent of ambient light conditions. Another significant advantage of Grid-EYE sensor is that its use does not intrude on personal privacy, unlike cameras.

The integrated Bluetooth module in the evaluation kit, PAN1740 (P/N ENW89846A1KF) is a single-mode Bluetooth Smart system-on-chip module optimized for low power (only 4.9mA in transmit or receive) and small size (only 9.0mm x 9.5mm x 1.8mm). The SMD component benefits from a fully shielded case, chip antenna, and integrated crystal oscillators. The low 4.9mA power consumption allows the use of coin cell batteries and decreases battery requirements by up to 50% when compared to other BLE devices currently on the market.