Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX, unveiled the industry’s first inductance-to-digital converter (LDC), a new data converter category that uses coils and springs as inductive sensors to deliver higher resolution, increased reliability, and greater flexibility than existing sensing solutions at a lower system cost. Inductive sensing is a contactless sensing technology that can be used to measure the position, motion, or composition of a metal or conductive target, as well as detect the compression, extension, or twist of a spring. Applications for inductive sensing range from simple push buttons, knobs, and on/off switches to high-resolution heart rate monitors, flow meters, and high-speed motor/gear controllers.

Key benefits of LDC technology include:

• Higher resolution: Enables sub-micron resolution in position-sensing applications with 16- bit resonance impedance and 24-bit inductance values.

• Increased reliability: Offers contactless sensing that is immune to nonconductive contaminants, such as oil, dirt, and dust, which can shorten equipment life.

• Greater flexibility: Allows the sensor to be located remotely from the electronics, where PCBs cannot be placed.

• Lower system cost: Uses low-cost sensors and targets and does not require magnets.

• Limitless possibilities: Supports pressed foil or conductive ink targets, offering endless opportunities for innovative system design.

• Lower system power: Consumes less than 8.5 mW during standard operation and less than 1.25 mW in standby mode.

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