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Nov 15th, 2012
Digital barometric pressure sensor BMP280 from Bosch Sensortec sets market reference
Improved performance, smallest footprint.
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  • Best-suited for mobile applications such as indoor navigation, fitness, weather forecast
  • Provides atmospheric pressure with high accuracy
  • Most accurate altitude due to sensor data fusion software

Based on the huge success of the predecessor in the mobile phone market, Bosch Sensortec releases the new BMP280 digital barometric pressure sensor with improved performance and the industry’s smallest footprint. The BMP280 provides the absolute pressure value along with temperature measurements.

Barometric pressure sensors enable a host of new mobile applications from indoor navigation with floor level tracking – e.g. to guide in shopping malls – to weather forecast and calorie consumption calculation in sports devices. The pressure value is also the essential input for many health-care applications like spirometers in which the lung volume of a person is measured. Today, the barometric pressure sensor is an inherent part of high-end smart phones.

"The BMP180 has literally opened a new dimension to navigation applications requiring precise altitude information and has been widely recognized as the best-in-class MEMS based barometric pressure sensor in 2012. Our new BMP280 will even exceed this performance, especially regarding temperature stability, sensor resolution and noise-to-power ratio", explains Leopold Beer, Marketing Director of Bosch Sensortec. "At the same time we were able to shrink the footprint of the package by staggering 63 %. We are pushing the technological limits again.”

Small footprint and improved electrical characteristics
With its footprint of 2.5 x 2.0 mm2 and a height of 0.95 mm in an 8-pin metal-lid LGA package the sensor offers highest design flexibility. This way, it can easily be implemented into multifunctional sports wrist watches. Furthermore, the power consumption has been reduced by a factor of 4. Its low current consumption of now only 2.7 µA and its wide measurement range from 300 to 1100 hPa make the BMP280 ideally suited for all battery driven outdoor applications.

The BMP280 offers a significant improvement of the absolute accuracy. Nevertheless, it shares with its predecessor BMP180 its very high relative accuracy of ±0.12 hPa, which is equivalent to only ±1 m difference in altitude. This is beneficial for all applications where the pressure sensor is used to complementarily support the GPS system in order to obtain more precise and faster position determination. The sensor noise has been be reduced by a factor of 2.3.

The offset temperature coefficient of the new device amounts to only 1.5 Pa/K, translating to an altitude stability over temperature of 12.6 cm/K and the resolution of the pressure measurement could be melted down to 0.18 Pa (1,5 cm). The BMP280’s low TCO and its high resolution will become noticeable in applications requiring the user’s precise altitude. E.g. location based services on handheld devices require the vertical position of a user within a building even if the device temperature changes by several degrees Celsius. Thus, for its accurate pressure reading, the BMP280 is ideally suited for floor tracking in in-door navigation applications.

The sensor is equipped with both I2C and SPI communication interfaces. Three power modes and separately configurable oversampling rates for pressure and temperature measurements empower designers to freely adapt the BMP280 to the use-case. The optional integrated IIR filter eliminates short-term measurement variations caused by environmental influences. Proven settings are available for specific use-cases such as weather logging or indoor navigation.

Faster, more accurate navigation through data fusion software
In combination with Bosch Sensortec's sensor data fusion software ACP2.0 (Altitude Content Provider 2.0), the sensor provides the most precise altitude available. ACP2.0 intelligently fuses the pressure sensor data with reference values – either directly from GPS signal or calculated from sea level pressure value provided by the nearest weather station via web service – depending on their availability.

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