Smart Force Sensor Unlocks New HMI Capabilities


Maxim Integrated presents a reference design of an industrial, smart force sensor which operates as both a weigh scale and a touch interface with force sensing. The design can be used as a 3D human interface input device, in battery-powered instrumentation, and industrial control and measurement.

“Maxim’s smart force sensor reference design is a new concept, operating as both a weigh scale and 3D touch interface in rugged environments,” said David Andeen, Director of Reference Designs at Maxim Integrated.“MAXREFDES82# has a unique combination of a multi-channel, high resolution ADC with integrated programmable gain amplifiers and low power consumption, giving our customers speed and flexibility when designing industrial systems.”

Compared to typical weigh scales which provide only downward force, the MAXREFDES82# smart force sensor reference design senses weight and center of mass for objects placed on the platform, providing accurate measurements up to 780g. A user interface provides an active display of both the quantities.

The design features the MAX11254, a 24-bit, 6-channel analog-to-digital converter (ADC) which collects responses from four load cells and offers fast responses with 64ksps speed. This configuration provides second and third dimensions of information about whatever object presses upon it.

Designed in a compact form factor, the system consumes less than 50mA during normal operation and features a USB interface for quick evaluation and integration. A PC-side graphical user interface (GUI) program is also included to facilitate the human interface input demonstration and development. Furthermore, built with a plastic plate, the system ideally meets the needs of industrial human machine interfaces (HMI).

The MAXREFDES82# reference design is available for $99 at Maxim’s website and select franchised distributors. Design files and firmware can be downloaded from the website. For more information on the reference design, click here.

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