Magnet-based Hall-effect sensors are widely used, but they're imperfect: introduce a magnetic field or metal object in close proximity to them, and the magnet-based sensors are suddenly vulnerable. Microsemi's announcement of their new ICs based on inductive sensing has the capability to replace magnet-based Hall-effect sensors. The LX3301A is "designed to process signals generated by inductive sensors which are based upon linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) principles."
LVDTs are inherently frictionless; they have a virtually infinite cycle life when properly used.
The new sensor features contactless sensing, an embedded 32-bit processing engine, an internal oscillator, and user-programmable 16x16-bit non-volatile configurable memory. It would be useful in industrial automation and control systems for linear displacement measurement, or any angular motion measurement, making it useful in robotics control. Microsemi also provides support for connecting the sensor inputs to a motor control evaluation board.
The LX3301A is the first inductive sensor IC on the market with linear variable differential transformer architecture implemented on printed circuit boards.