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Lightning sensor ic is first to target low power, portable applications

Lightning sensor ic is first to target low power, portable applications

Capable of detecting lightning up to 40km away, austriamicrosystems' AS3935 Franklin Lightning Sensor ic is said to be the first in the industry to target low power, portable applications.

The sensor features an embedded 'intelligent' algorithm and is designed to provide advanced warning of approaching electrical storms, giving people additional time to take shelter.

The sensor utilises an rf receiver which detects the electrical emissions from lightning activity. A proprietary algorithm then converts the rf signal into an estimation of the distance to the head of the storm. The algorithm, which draws on meteorological survey data, produces an estimated distance to storm calculation from 40km down to 1km, while rejecting disturbances from manmade signals such as motors and microwave ovens.

"This innovative, highly integrated sensor was designed with intelligence and low power capabilities that make it suitable for a variety of low power portable and fixed products requiring very little board space," said austriamicrosystems' Bruce Ulrich. "It is now possible to protect both humans and equipment from harm by providing early warning of impending danger."

Housed in a 4 x 4mm 16pin MLPQ package, the AS3935 has a listening mode current consumption of 60µA and features multiple low power modes.

Laura Hopperton

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