Why the Security Market is Taking a Closer Look at the Use of Radar Sensors as Opposed to the Popular Passive Infrared (PIR)

July 11, 2019 Niel Smith, Socionext America Inc.

Home security devices are very popular these days as they provide home or office with extra security over the facilities. They are easy to install, readily available off-the-shelf, and can be purchased at reasonable prices.

Many popular home security devices utilize PIR as a movement detection sensor. PIRs have been in the market for a long time and are well-established. For many years, it has been the single choice used for motion detection in security applications.

Technological advancement has driven the size and cost down on radar sensors making them a viable choice and solution over PIR sensors.

Radar technology is an excellent contender to PIR because it offers added capabilities.  Furthermore, PIR has certain limitations that are not desirable in the security market for which radar detection can easily overcome.

Additionally, modern radar sensors have been reduced to small, high volume and inexpensive packaging, thus allowing them to be easily integrated into a wide range of security products.

PIR and RADAR Sensor Comparison Graphs

Key features of radar sensor include:

  • Reliable operation over a large temperature range as it does not depend on a temperature differential to detect an object, thus eliminating ‘false’ detections based on temperature fluctuations.
  • Unaffected by environmental obstructions such as smoke, fog or dirt over lens.
  • Overall size reduction of detectors requiring a bulky lens arrangement.
  • Inconspicuous. Can be easily disguised, hidden from obvious view or embedded behind non-metallic material such as paper, paint, wood, or plastics; allowing for easy integration into light switches, walls, ceilings.
  • Outputs a variety of sensing data such as distance, velocity, angle of detection. This in turn, can be used to further identify, track and qualify the target of interest.
Video demonstrating the detection of distance and angle using radar sensor.

With the many additional advantages and features of radar sensing, it becomes clear for application developers in the security market to implement radar technology in their next generation security products.

Socionext offers a full lineup of 24GHz & 60GHz ultra-low-power radar sensors with multiple antennas (both Tx and Rx) integrated into a single package.

Socionext 24GHz Radar Sensor SC1232A

The 24GHz radar sensor SC1232A operates at an average of 2mW at 0.5 percent duty cycle and measures at a compact 9mm x 9mm x 1mm. It supports multiple sensing modes including CW, FSKCW, FMCW.

Niel Smith is a Field Application Engineer at Socionext America Inc. He is responsible for handling the radar sensor product line. Niel possesses extensive engineering experience in RF, microwave, and mixed-signal semiconductor products.

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