Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Melexis far infra-red sensor suits wearables and hearables

Steve Rogerson
June 20, 2019

Belgian microelectronics engineering company Melexis has introduced what it claims is the world's smallest medical grade FIR (far infra-red) sensor, assembled in a surface mount package for use in applications such as wearables, in-ear-devices (hearables) and clinical point-of-care applications for accurate human body temperature measurement.
The MLX90632 is based upon Melexis' FIR technology that uses the fact that all objects emit heat radiation. Miniaturised far-infra-red sensors are typically sensitive to thermal disturbances, however, the MLX90632 mitigates this through compensation algorithms, delivering high levels of thermal stability. The medical-grade device is optimised for the normal human body temperature range, where it offers medical-grade accuracy of ±0.2˚C thanks to its in-factory calibration procedures.
The device comes in a 3 by 3 by 1mm QFN package that includes the sensor element, signal processing, digital interface and optics thereby allowing rapid and simple integration into many space constrained applications. The small size, high thermal stability and optimisation for human body temperature make it suitable for ultra-small modern health monitoring devices, such as portable diagnosis tools capable of monitoring body temperature continuously.
Monitoring vital signs repeatedly is a key enabler of preventive medicine practices to detect early critical health conditions. The sensor is also suited to more classic medical devices such as forehead or ear body thermometers.
"Melexis has already shipped millions of medical grade sensing devices and this new device builds upon this expertise,” said Joris Roels, Melexis marketing manager. “The MLX90632 will be a disruptive sensing technology in many applications, allowing leading manufacturers to differentiate their devices and offer important health-related functionalities."