TDK buys ultrasonic sensor pioneer

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TDK is buying Chirp Microsystems, a developer of high-performance ultrasonic sensing systems that are said to be smaller than existing devices and to consume less power. Applications for the company’s technology are said to include augmented and virtual reality, as well as smartphones, cars and industrial machinery.

“[TDK’s] vision is to be the leading solutions provider of sensors for motion, sound, environmental elements and ultrasonic sensors for the IoT,” said Noboru Saito, CEO of TDK’s Sensor Systems Business. “Chirp’s 3D sensing technologies will fill out our lineup of sensor solutions, positioning TDK as the leader in ultrasonic MEMS technology..”

Michelle Kiang, Chirp’s CEO, added: “We see many synergies with TDK technologies; EPCOS is a world-leader in piezoceramic sensors and actuators and InvenSense is a world-leader in MEMS sensors for consumer electronics.”

In December 2017, Chirp launched the CH-101 and CH-201 time of flight sensors (pictured). The CH-101 has a detection range from 1cm to 1m, with sub mm accuracy, while the CH-201 can detect objects within the range from 20cm to 5m, again with mm accuracy. Sub mm accuracy, according to Chirp's CTO Dave Horsley, is being demanded by applications such as virtual reality.