Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd exhibited the "3D Sensing AMR Sensor," which is the world's first sensor that can detect a 360-degree magnetic field, at the 17th Embedded Systems Expo (ESEC), which runs from May 13 to 16, 2014, in Tokyo.
An AMR (anisotropic magnetoresistance) sensor converts the value of magnetoresistance, which fluctuates depending on the strength of a magnetic field, into digital signals. It is used to measure the amount of flowing water in a water meter and the amount of liquid in a tank.
In the case of a water meter, when water flows in a pipe and a magnet rotates, the AMR sensor counts the number of rotations based on the strength of the magnetic field and determines the amount of flowing water.
While existing AMR sensors can detect the fluctuation of a magnetic field in certain directions, the new sensor can detect a 360-degree magnetic field in parallel with the plane of the magnetoresistance device. And it has the same sensitivity in all directions.
"Because it becomes possible to realize multi-directional detection with one device, sensor size can be reduced," Murata said. "It enables to relatively freely decide the relative position of a sensor with respect to a magnet."
The company plans to start volume production and shipment in the summer of 2014.