Humidity and temperature sensor developed for integration into a smartphone

July 25, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Swiss sensor manufacturer Sensirion has developed the smallest sensor for humidity and temperature and integrated it - a world's first, as the company says - into a smartphone. The interesting part of the story however is not the sensor as such: The integration shifts Sensirion's focus from a pure hardware company towards software.

The humidity and temperature sensor is one of the most basic building blocks for the Internet of Things. Integrated into a smartphone or wearable device, it already makes up a smart sensor with its own intelligence. In collaborating with smartphone manufacturers across the globe, Sensirion gradually turned into a software vendor. For example, along with Google it expanded the functionality of the Android IP to create an interface for the measurement of temperature and humidity measurement. The API is now available as an open source solution and is further expanded and updated continuously.

Now Sensirion has acquired the cloud and technology business from Koubachi AG, a spin-off from ETH Zurich, Switzerland's most prestigious high-tech university. A pioneer of the IoT, Koubachi developed a wireless sensor for soil humidity back in 2010; the company now is regarded as a vendor of "appcessoires" - a combination of smartphone apps and the related hardware. Koubachi's cloud business unit, now a part of Sensirion, developed cloud server products that took the part of processing high sensor data volumes to dissect valuable trend data and other findings.

For the future, Sensirion sees enormous potential with software products. The company intends to spearhead the change towards intelligent sensors and the processing of sensor data in the cloud. "Currently, we are working on novel sensor solutions that will be connected directly to the cloud. These solutions will be build on the technology we acquired from Koubachi," said Moritz Koehler, head of software development at Sirion.