MSP Ultrasonic Sensing MCUs

Explore design options that can benefit from an ultrasonic sensing front end for industrial and consumer applications

What is ultrasonic sensing?

Ultrasonic sound waves are vibrations at a frequency above the range of human hearing (>20kHz) that can travel through a variety of mediums (air or fluid). Techniques like time of flight or Doppler capture these soundwaves to measure flow, detect objects, provide concentration analysis and measure distances - without making physical contact.

Using an MCU for ultrasonic sensing

Texas Instruments MSP430™ microcontrollers, specifically the MSP430FR604x and MSP430FR504x SoC microcontroller families, offer a low-cost, single-chip solution with integrated ultrasonic sensing analog front end which is easy to use and flexible for developing various applications.  Its unique waveform capturing technology with high speed ADC and cross correlation method enables high accuracy measurements with low power.  

The USS module helps achieve ultra-low-power, high-precision sensing, combined with lower system cost due to maximum integration requiring very few external components. 

Ultrasonic Sensing (USS) front end 

Detailed information about each sub-block is available in this white paper: USS submodules overview

Bringing ultrasonic sensing applications to the masses

The introduction of TI’s ultrasonic MCUs brings down the system cost and ease of design, making it possible to add ultrasonic to a wide range of applications previously considered not possible: small household appliances such as coffee makers and vacuum robots, industrial applications like smart flow meters, anemometers, surface sensing & leak detectors and even medical applications such as spirometers and oxygen concentrators. No matter the applications, any of the mentioned use cases leverage the different ultrasonic modalities such as flow rate, level sensing, gas & liquid concentration, distance and pressure measurements.  Ultrasonic sensors can be used to detect a wide variety of materials regardless of shape, transparency or color.

  • High resolution ultrasonic liquid level sensing : Cost-effective liquid level sensing measurements with 25uA of current consumption and high resolution (20 microns)
  • Liquid concentration sensing: Frequency-based time of flight measurement, achieving much higher accuracy than existing TDC based techniques (e.g. ±0.01% accuracy with salt concentrations)
  • High-resolution anemometer: Sensing small air current changes to detect doors opening and closing inside a home, or to measure air flow and temperature in HVAC systems
  • Ultrasonic surface sensing: Contactless surface sensing solution useful for brake monitors, structural monitoring of bridges and buildings (during winds and earthquakes), machine material monitoring including paper counting for 2D printers, spool sensing for 3D printers, and production line profile scanning. 
  • Ultrasonic leak detection: Ultrasonic technology is well suited for leak detection and can sense a delta time of flight from a mean of 15 ps to 30 ps for 1 drop per second
  • Oxygen Concentration Sensing: Sense oxygen concentrations to within 0.8% of reading value at a scale of 21% - 96%, with a response time of 78 ms and power consumption of 660 μW at 10 samples/sec. These sensors are commonly found in ventilators, concentrators, and combustion monitors

Ultrasonic single-chip solution

Ultrasonic development ecosystem

TI offers all the development tools which helps engineers for quick development and proto-type.

Curriculum overview

To help you quickly start developing ultrasonic sensing applications using MSP USS devices, we have created a library of resources including:

  • Training videos
  • GUI demo
  • Code examples
  • Application tech notes

For those further in development, all software and GUIs are tested on MSP430FR604x EVMs.

Additional information

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