Sensor development kits for environmental, biometric and IoT designs

September 04, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Silicon Labs has added two development kits to accelerate the design of environmental and biometric sensing applications for a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) products.

Silicon Labs' SLSTK3201A environmental sensing development kit streamlines the process of developing IoT products that sense relative humidity (RH), temperature, ultraviolet (UV) light, ambient light, proximity and human gestures. The development kit combines an EFM32 Zero Gecko microcontroller (MCU) starter kit with a sensor expansion board. The kit also features a gesture-controlled weather station application that tracks RH, temperature and UV index. Complete source code is available from Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio development platform, reducing application development time. Target applications for the kits include home security systems, smart thermostats, smoke detectors, weather stations, smart watches, fitness bands, heart-rate earphones and other wearable products.

Silicon Labs’ biometric sensing development platform simplifies measurement of heart rate and blood oxygen level (Sp02), as well as UV index, relative humidity and temperature. The platform includes the BIOMETRIC-EXP-EVB expansion card with Silicon Labs’ Si114x optical sensors and Si701x/2x humidity and temperature sensors. The sensor card plugs directly into Silicon Labs’ EFM32 Wonder Gecko MCU starter kit. Silicon Labs also offers an optional wearable-form-factor HRM-GGG-PS board that supports wrist-based heart rate monitoring and connects to the biometric sensor card through an I2C mini-flex cable.

The biometric demonstration firmware for the EFM32 Wonder Gecko starter kit is available at no charge at www.silabs.com/biometric-exp-evb. The library module includes a heart rate algorithm with source configuration files, eliminating the need to develop biometric sensor drivers from scratch.

The environmental and biometric sensing kits operate on coin-cell batteries, demonstrating the ultra-low power consumption of Silicon Labs’ MCU and sensor IC products for battery-powered IoT and wearable applications. Each sensor expansion card features Silicon Labs’ TS3310 boost dc/dc converter to help minimise energy consumption.

The award-winning Si701x/2x relative humidity and temperature sensors combine a single-chip, mixed-signal IC with a proven technique for measuring humidity using a polymer dielectric film. The integrated CMOS design ensures long-term reliability and superior ease of use, reducing manufacturing cost and complexity. An optional, factory-installed filter