Barometric pressure sensor – accurate altitude tracking for consumer devices

January 06, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Bosch Sensortec’s BMP380 is the company’s smallest and best performing barometric pressure sensor, with a size of 2.0 x 2.0 x 0.75 mm. It can be applied in a range of altitude tracking applications, with improved accuracy and smaller footprint over previous parts, and with reduced power consumption

Pressure and temperature data can be stored in a built-in 512 Byte FIFO; the FIFO and interrupt functionality provide simple access to data and storage. This greatly improves ease of use while helping to reduce power consumption to 2.7 µA at 1 Hz during full operation.


The sensor is more accurate than its predecessors, covering a wide measurement range from 300 hPA to 1250 hPA. Tests in real-life environments have verified a relative accuracy of ±0.06 hPa ( ±0.5m) over a temperature range from 25°C to 40°C. The absolute accuracy between 300 and 1100 hPa is ±0.5 hPa over a temperature range from 0°C to 65°C.


The BMP380 is aimed at gaming, sports and health management, as well as indoor and outdoor navigation. By measuring barometric pressure, the sensor enables drones, smartphones, tablets, wearables and other mobile devices to accurately determine altitude changes, in both indoor and outdoor environments. Typical applications for the BMP380 include altitude stabilization in drones, where altitude information is utilized to improve flight stability and landing accuracy. This simplifies drone steering, thereby making drones attractive for a broader range of users. The BMP380 can also substantially improve calorie expenditure measurement accuracy in wearables and mobile devices, for example by identifying whether a person is walking upstairs or downstairs in a step tracking application. Especially in hilly environments, this allows runners and cyclists to significantly improve the monitoring accuracy of their performance. In smartphones, tablets and wearables, this sensor brings unprecedented precision to outdoor/indoor navigation and localization applications, i.e. by utilizing altitude data to determine the user's floor level in a building, and enhancing GPS accuracy outdoors.


Bosch Sensortec;