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Sensor de ángulo miniaturizado de bajo coste con pocos requisitos de alineación

Resumen

Tipo:
Oferta Tecnológica
Referencia:
12 DE 0855 3QHQ
Publicado:
05/03/2015
Caducidad:
01/09/2015
Resumen:
Una pyme alemana ha desarrollado un nuevo sensor de medición de ángulos. Este sensor óptico sin contacto mide el ángulo de rotación absoluto y ofrece medidas de alta resolución con un tamaño extremadamente pequeño. El sensor es insensible a errores de alineación y es la solución perfecta para aplicaciones industriales subminiaturizadas y de bajo coste. También puede integrarse con otros sistemas electrónicos. La empresa busca usuarios finales, acuerdos de licencia o inversores para convertir el prototipo en un producto.

Details

Tittle:
Miniaturized low-cost angle sensor with low alignment requirements
Summary:
A German SME developed a new sensor technology for angle measurements. The contact-free optical sensor measures absolute rotation angles. High resolution is possible at extremely small size. The sensor is insensitive to alignment errors and vibration, making it an ideal choice for sub-miniaturized and low-cost applications in many industrial applications. It can be integrated with other electronics. The company seeks licensees (key end-users) or investors to turn the prototype into product(s).
Description:
There are many different sensor technologies around to measure angles, e.g. angle of rotation. One of the simplest is a potentiometer which can be made small but has mechanical wear and tolerances due to friction. There are optical encoders, either incremental or absolute, which either lose accuracy or become very sensitive to mechanical adjustments and tolerances. In practice, these technologies are not suitable for miniaturized sensors. There are micro-mechanic systems which overcome this, but these are very complex and rather expensive. Magnetic sensors can offer a quadrature signal which can be analyzed after digitizing the sensor signals. This sensor system can be made small and contact-less, but requires a comparably heavy magnet on the rotation axis. In addition this method is sensitive to lateral alignments.

A German company developed a new sensor technology for angle measurements. This patented sensor concept also creates a quadrature signal and measures contact-less. Thus the evaluation of sensor data is similar to a magnetic Hall sensor. However, the sensor signal is supplied optically in form of polarized light. Different mechanical arrangements are possible, such as, a reflective or a transmissive system (e.g. similar to Hall sensor or fork light-barrier arrangemeents). In both cases a cheap, unstructured polarizing foil can be used to imprint the rotation angle into a polarization state. Since the foil is unstructured, lateral movements (including vibration) have no impact on the rotation angle measurement. Tilt angles can also be tolerated.

The sensor can be manufactured in standard CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) technology (except the light source which is a conventional LED). Therefore the sensor can be integrated with ADC (analog-to-digital converter), micro-controller, motor driver or other things. This allows the realization of single-chip servo electronics which contain everything but motor and the LED.

Very different arrangements can be realized since sensor and light source can be placed far apart, e.g. when using laser light. The sensor allows compensation of ambient/stray light, thus remote sensing without optically sealed housings is also possible.

Since the measurement is purely optical, it is also insensitive to electromagnetic interference and can be used where magnetic sensors fail. This allows its use near motors, cables or other magnetic elements without need for magnetic shielding. Together with its flexible use and minimal alignment requirements also the massive housings needed for many other precision sensors can be saved. It thus allows size and weight reduction in robots and other machinery. Reduced inertial mass can improve work speed and reduce power consumption.



Sensing of transient strong fields is therefore another application if an optically nonlinear material is used to translate magnetic or electric fields into polarization rotation. Since the measurement is fast, rapid transients of strong fields can be measured with such sensor, and no conductive or magnetic materials are exposed to the field.


Current and Potential Domain of Application: Possible applications range from electronic toys, robotics, automotive appliances, general purpose industrial sensors, and even minimally invasive surgery, artificial knees, exoskeletons etc.
Sensing of transient strong fields could also be an option.

In comparison with standard optical encoders, the new development requires less power because only a single short light pulse is needed per measurement. It can be expected that final products can even compete against low power Hall sensors.

Industrial licencees are sought to use the technology as well as partners for technical cooperation.
Current and Potential Domain of Application
Possible applications range from electronic toys, robotics, automotive appliances, general purpose industrial sensors, and even minimally invasive surgery, artificial knees, exoskeletons etc.
Sensing of transient strong fields could also be an option.
Advantages and Innovations:

· The sensor concept allows significant reduction of size and weight if used to measure rotation angles,
· The CMOS compatible technology allows cheap mass production and added value by integration of an entire electronic system together with the sensor,
· The insensitivity to alignment errors, vibration etc. also allows cost reduction in the application of the sensor,
· Resolution remains high at miniaturized size (few mm possible),
· The sensor can measure both on-axis and off-axis,
· Insensitive to electromagnetic interferers but much more robust to dirt than optical encoders.



This makes it an enabling technology for new products.
Stage of Development:
Available for demonstration
IPs:
Patents granted
CommeR Statunts Regarding IPR Status:
Patents granted in DE, US, JP, CN, more are pending.

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
End-users are sought to define target specifications and support the next steps financially. There is also interest in technical partnerships for commercial product developments and to discuss applications and related feature wish lists for possible product variants.

- Type of partner sought: Predominantly industrial (OEM or end user),

- Specific area of activity of the partner:
Industrial sensors, robotics, medical instruments and prothesis, electronic toys, surveillance systems...,

- Task to be performed by the partner sought: define target specification, support further development, support production and commercialization.
Type of Partnership Considered:
Adaptation to specific needs
Financial Resources
Joint further development
License Agreement

Client

Type and Size of Client:
Industry SME <= 10
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
No
Languages Spoken:
English
German

Keywords

Technology Keywords:
01001001 Automatización, sistemas robóticos de control
01001 Electrónica, microelectrónica
09001009 Tecnología de sensores relacionada con la realización de medidas
09001007 Tecnología óptica relacionada con la realización de medidas