element14 launches inductive sensing design competition



element14 has announced the launch of the Inductive Sensing Challenge, a global design competition which will encourage participating engineers to design and develop innovative products. The initiative will use the Texas Instruments LDC1000, the first inductance-to-digital converter.

Inductive sensing is a contactless, magnet-free sensing technology that can measure the position, motion, or composition of a metal or conductive target, as well as detect the compression, extension or twist of a spring. With sensors converting readings into digital information that can be stored and shared online, this challenge has significant implications for the Internet of Things.

“The element14 Community enables innovation through knowledge sharing and by providing resources to more than 220,000 members,” said Dianne Kibbey, Global Head of Community, element14. “New and upcoming technologies are a focal point for us, as many of our engineers are developing products that will have great implications in the future. This challenge gives us excellent insight into the growth potential for the Internet of Things, and we’re particularly looking for projects that have implications in that space.”

The LDC1000 enables inductive sensing by utilizing coils and springs as inductive sensors to deliver better performance, reliability and greater flexibility than existing sensing solutions, and at a lower system cost and power.

The possibilities for using inductive sensing technology are endless. Common applications of inductive sensors include automobiles, traffic lights, metal detectors, medical devices, computers, a staggering array of consumer electronics and a variety of automated industrial processes. One Challenge proposal seeks to use inductive sensing to analyze traffic patterns, while another will use the technology to ensure metals used in building construction are safe – a potentially life-saving application.

“Because it greatly improves existing sensing capabilities and enables new modes of sensing, inductive sensing will have a huge impact on the Internet of Things, a world in which vastly increased device intelligence and awareness allows for their seamless integration into an intelligent network,” said Jon Baldwin, PLM of Texas Instruments. “This challenge offers engineers the opportunity to turn their ideas for more intelligent systems into real solutions that will impact our future use of technology.”

The challenge begins with a qualifying period which ends on April 14, during which potential participants submit their design ideas. On Wednesday, April 9 at 8:00 a.m. CST, element14 and Texas Instruments will lead a webinar on inductive sensing as a technology, as well as an introduction to the LDC1000 and a number of application examples for the device.

Once the qualifying phase ends, selected competitors will be sent products and begin building their designs. They will also develop blog posts addressing their ideas, what inspires them and what their key challenges might be. The competition will conclude on Friday, August 22, 2014.

The winner will be chosen by a vote on the award-winning element14 Community, which offers design engineers a space to share project concepts with its members. The grand prize winner and “People’s Choice” winner will each receive a 128G iPad Air.

Inductive Sensing Challenge