ASICs in Sensing Technology

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.

At Swindon, we are committed to making industrial automation and cars safer, smarter and greener through our design excellence and innovation. Our sensor interface ASICs bring together all these attributes to provide you with a winning formula.

Focused on future requirements and trends, our outstanding experience in sensing interface ICs for numerous industrial and automotive systems makes the world a safer place for millions of people every day.

Better by Design

Industrial and automotive proximity sensors are required to provide accurate measurements to degrees of millimetres. The sensor interface ASIC therefore requires highly accurate and robust analogue and digital signal processing in order to support this accuracy. A Swindon custom ASIC, as used by the world’s leading proximity sensing companies, are testimony to this.

Integrated Technology

One of the Swindon design approaches is to integrate a MEMS sensor with a bespoke mixed signal ASIC that comprises precise analogue circuitry with a microcontroller and programmable software. The MEMS sensor is calibrated to the ASIC over temperature with the calibrated data being stored in on chip memory. The resultant accurate measurement is then sent by either wireless or wired transmission protocols, dependent upon the customer’s requirements.

Ultra Low Power

As required in our TPMS family, we have to meet the requirement of a 10 year operational life span, powering a MEMS pressure sensor, microprocessor and RF transmitter from a single cell lithium button battery. This requires ultra-low power consumption, nominally microwatts. Swindon is a global leader in the design of ulta-low power circuitry and we have and continue to deliver hundreds of millions of devices across the globe to leading OEMs. Every 1.5 seconds a car leaves the production line which is fitted and benefits from this technology.

Current and Recent ASIC Project Examples

Highlighting 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.

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.

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