Sensor integration unsurprisingly continues to be important for the future of device design. Bosch and TDK showed this month that they're answering the call with both dev kits for easy prototyping and production-ready sensor solutions.

2018 is starting out with a flurry of new resources for incorporating sensors into designs. In particular, motion sensing and IoT retrofitting are the order of the day, which makes a lot of sense in light of the fact that Bosch demonstrated smart city and automatic parking technologies at CES 2018 this month. TDK, too, stayed on-trend by largely focusing on sensors for automotive applications. 

Here's a look at what sensors were on display this month at CES from Bosch and TDK.


TDK SmartMotion Development Kits

TDK displayed their SmartMotion Platform, a series of four sensor development kits that are designed to work with their Windows-based MotionLink software. The evaluation boards include an embedded debugger, a micro USB socket, and one of several sensors to allow engineers to quickly evaluate and understand specific TDK sensor solutions.


TDK Sensor SDKs


All of the development kits are built around the Microchip G55 Cortex-M4 CPU with Floating-Point Unit. With an embedded debugger already on the board, users only need to connect the development kit to their computer and start the MotionLink Gui-based programmer. 

Two of the kits include a digital motion processor, which is an algorithm that uses sensor fusion to meld the individual results to create an inertial measurement unit (IMU).

  • DK-20602
    • Development platform for the ICM-20602 6-axis motion sensor (3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer)
  • DK-20648
    • Development platform for the ICM-20648 6-axis motion sensor (3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, Digital Motion Processor)
  • DK-20789
    • Development platform for the ICM-20789 7-axis motion sensor (3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, barometric pressure sensor)
  • DK-20948
    • Development platform for the ICM-20948 9-axis motion sensor (3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis magnetometer, Digital Motion Processor)


Bosch XDK110 and Bosch XDK Sensor Node

The Bosch XDK kit and XDK Node are designed as prototype- and a production-ready add-on sensor solutions to adapt almost any device to the Internet of Things. Users who hope to integrate the sensors into new circuit board designs would use the XDK kit, while users who want to retrofit a sensor solution into existing products without redesigning the product or adding technology to existing circuit-boards should use the XDK Node. 

The Node is an add-on sensor that can be incorporated in new designs or retrofitted to old designs. Imagine attaching it to existing machinery to sense when a part is off-balance, listen for a bearing that is beginning to fail, or sense the angle of inclination of a crane boom. Sensor data is collected by a 32-bit Arm Cortex M3 microcontroller and transmitted via Bluetooth Low Energy or Wireless LAN to a monitoring station.


Bosch XDK Node


The XDK Node includes the following sensors:

  • Three-axis accelerometer: BMA280 (±2...±16g programmable)
  • Three-axis gyroscope: BMG160 (±125 °/s...±2000 °/s programmable)
  • Three-axis magnetometer: BMM150 (±1300 µT x-axis, y-axis, ±2500 µT z-axis)
  • Light sensor: (0.045 lux...188,000 lux: 22-bit)
  • Temperature sensor: BME280 (-20 °C...60 °C)
  • Barometric pressure sensor: BME280 (300 hPa ... 1100 hPa
  • Humidity sensor: BME280 (10%...90% rH)
  • Light sensor: (0.045 lux ... 188,000 lux: 22-bit)

Additionally, it includes three programmable status LEDs, two programmable push-buttons, a micro SD card slot, JTAG debug interface, and interfaces for extension boards.

The sensor is configured with the free XDK Workbench software solution by Bosch. Their IDE provides high- and low-level APIs with algorithm libraries for interpreting data in a variety of use cases.


Screen capture of XDK Workbench Software from Bosch



Manufacturers are increasingly adding sensors from Bosch, TDK, and other manufacturers to new-product designs to make the IoT a reality, but that integration takes time. 

TDK's dev kits allow for quick setup and accessible prototyping. For those manufacturers who want to side-step a year's worth of product development—or retrofit functioning pre-IoT devices—the Bosch XDK Sensor Node is certainly a viable option, and I fully expect similar snap-in solutions to follow.


Featured image courtesy of TDK.


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