There are several applications where EPIC can be used in cars. For example, driver monitoring for health and alertness by detecting heart rate and respiration or determining the occupancy of the car to adjust the ride, handling and air bag deployment depending on the size and location of occupants. The EPIC sensor electrodes can be easily and discretely incorporated inside the seat backs to acquire the necessary biometric data.
“Regulations and economics are meaning that car designs are all becoming very similar so that manufacturers have to differentiate their products by the user features and comfort inside the car,” explained Derek Rye, Plessey Semiconductors” Marketing Manager. “We are only just starting to explore the new and exciting ways that these innovative sensors can be used to enhance and improve safety.”
EPIC sensors are already in commercial production by Plessey Semiconductors. By adjusting the DSP and amplification circuitry, the sensors can be tuned for detection at a distance as required for these automotive applications. Volume production pricing for the PS25203 is in the region of $1-2. The PS25203 is supplied in a custom 4-pin PCB hybrid package measuring 10.5mm x 10.5mm x 3.45mm.
Plessey will be demonstrating automotive and Sports and Fitness reference designs on their booth 627 at the Chicago Sensors Expo Show in June 6-7, 2012.
The EPIC sensor, which requires no physical or resistive contact to make measurements, will enable new products to be made such as medical scanners that are simply held close to a patient”s chest to obtain a detailed ECG reading or safety and security devices that can “see” through walls. The sensor can be integrated on a chip with other features such as data converters, digital signal processing and wireless communications capability.
The technology works at normal room temperatures and functions as an ultra-high, input impedance sensor that acts as a highly stable, extremely sensitive, contactless digital voltmeter to measure tiny changes in the electric field down to milliVolts. Most places on Earth have a vertical electric field of about 100 Volts per metre. The human body is mostly water and this interacts with the electric field. EPIC technology is so sensitive that it can detect these changes at a distance and even through a solid wall.