Sensor Interface ASIC Design

Sensor interfaces where signal conversion of sensor data occurs and the analysis, control and transmission of it is controlled, is where the SWINDON expertise comes to the fore.

The use of mixed signal ASICs to provide an optimised solution is becoming more prevalent in industrial and automotive applications. The sensor interface where signal conversion of sensor data occurs and the analysis, control and transmission of it is controlled, is where the Swindon expertise comes to the fore. The intelligent sensor is being utilised in many existing and emerging applications and the dynamic development of ASIC solutions is driving the future for us all.
On this page we highlight some of the mixed signal ASIC designs that Swindon are currently working on or have recently completed and are already in production and being supplied in volume.

Due to the confidentiality of all the projects that Swindon undertakes, we cannot share technical or design data. This confidentiality is crucial to protect our customers’ commercial and technological advantage, which is core to the ASIC business model.

A Typical SWINDON Sensor Interface

A typical sensor interface circuit is shown opposite. Dependent on the type of sensor, the output is predominantly analogue and its amplitude can be extremely small. This presents challenges in noise and sensitivity and careful design is required to achieve the specified performance.

There are also other factors that can affect the linearity of the sensor such as temperature for example, so a requirement to measure and compensate for such variances may be a system requirement, and one that SWINDON has vast experience in conducting. Many sensors do not have a mains power supply available and so specific attention must be paid to careful power budgeting in the design in order to optimise the battery life of your system.

Resistive Sensor Interface – Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems ASIC

Sensing pressure is used in many applications and one of the most common seen today is in Tyre Pressure Measurement Systems (TPMS), which is becoming a legislated requirement across the globe.

The resistive element is formed as part of a Wheatstone Bridge and changes in the relative values are detected. These structures can be formed as MEMS devices which allows for efficient integration with an ASIC sensor interface die in a System in Package configuration (SiP).

Swindon and Sensata Technologies are the global leaders and have been since the augmentation of TPMS systems. We account for approximately 50% of the global TPMS business using the innovative sensors and ASICs that are designed and manufactured within Swindon and Sensata.

Battery Management Systems

Battery Management Systems (BMS) manages a rechargeable battery (cell or battery pack), for use in varied applications such as Electric Vehicles (EV), electric transportation such as marine and heavy goods vehicles and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) for use on the electricity grid.

They are used to protect the battery from operating outside its safe operating area, monitoring its State of Charge (SOC) and Sate of Health (SOH) by measuring voltage, current and temperature of each induvial cell, calculating and reporting the measured data, controlling its environment, authenticating it and / or balancing it.

Swindon is working with a known leader in the development of BMS solutions for the automotive and industrial market.


Haptic technology relates to the sense of touch and tactile feedback and it’s already found in many consumer products, most notably in mobile phones. Haptic technology is now rapidly being adopted by the automotive and industrial industry as a way to provide the users a more informed and intuitive experience.

Driving a car for example, is a very tactile experience, whether its holding the steering wheel or pressing down on the pedals, and the physical sensation that the user experiences provides them with instant feedback as to the operation of the vehicle and its controls.

Thanks to haptic technology – the world is about to get a lot more tactile.

Swindon is currently working on a project with a world leading Haptics company that will be utilised in both automotive and industrial applications.

Optical Image Sensing – Machine Vision Sensors IC

There has been a huge increase in automation across several industries which has further increased the demand for optical image sensors. Technological breakthroughs have assisted the advancement of new optical image sensors that have made the overall processes more efficient and significantly improve accuracy across various applications.

Swindon is currently working with a world leader in precision on an Optical Image Sensor project that will be utilised in machine vision applications.

Inductive Sensor Interface – Proximity and Position Sensing ASIC

This type of sensor is particular useful where the application requires no physical contact or is in a dirty environment, as the sensing element is relatively unaffected by dirt. Common applications of inductive sensors include factory automation, proximity detectors, metal detectors, traffic lights, car washes, automated industrial processes, etc.

Swindon partners with a number of global industrial leaders in this field to provide an accurate positional and proximity sensing sensor interface for industrial applications including smart factory and machine vision.

Magnetic Sensor Interface – Encoder ASICs

Magnetic sensors use Hall Effect and magneto resisitive and magneto restrictive techniques and they measure the strength of the magnetic field to provide location information. They are commonly used in applications such as factory automation and lighting.

Swindon is partnered with a global automation equipment manufacturer to provide innovative ASICs for their positional encoders used in factory automation applications.

Capacitive Sensor Interface – Touch Screen IC

By measuring and detecting changes in capacitance it is possible to determine position. These can be useful for proximity detection of non-metallic items as they do not rely on conductance.

Swindon is partnered with a leading industrial touch screen manufacturer to provide an accurate positional touch screen ASIC for its touch screen products.

Acoustic Sensor Interface – Hearing Protection ASIC

Everyone is familiar with microphones and speakers, but today these sensors can take many different forms and can measure things such as wave (amplitude, phase, and polarisation), wave velocity and spectrum.

Swindon is partnered with a leading headset manufacturer to provide a state of the art noise cancelling solution for an industrial headset, which is used in many spheres of operation including Formula One (F1) motor racing.

Optical Sensor Interface – Smoke Detector ASIC

Optical sensors are used extensively today, (e.g. optical mouse), especially as semiconductor technology has several characteristics that lends itself to this type of sensor. With today’s modern packaging techniques it is common to find both emitter and detector within the same package. They work on principles such as refractive index, reflectivity and absorption.

Swindon partnered with a smoke detector manufacturer to provide a robust smoke detector that was capable of detecting low levels of smoke in all the different environmental conditions.

What is a sensor interface?

A sensor interface is a generic term to describe the system between the physical sensor and the data output to the user. This usually consists of an analogue front end, signal conditioning and processing and communication via a wired or wireless protocol.

Where is a sensor interface used?

A sensor interface is used wherever there is a sensor, to convert the real life data from the sensor into useable data for the user.

What are the types of sensors used for interfacing?

All types of sensors require an interface such as resistive, capacitive, inductive, magnetic and optical image, to name but a few.

How long will it take for our enquiry to a finished ASIC?

This depends upon many factors, with the main ones being how complete is the customer requirement specification, the quotation and decision process time and most importantly, the compleity of the ASIC required and how long it will take to design, productise, manufacture and qualify.

Where are your sensor interfaces commonly used?

All range of applications use sensors such as automotive and smart factories (Industry 4.0). Wherever there is a requirement to measure a variable, such as distance, temperature etc, then sensor interfaces will be required.

Get in Touch