TDK announces availability of new MEMS-based “sonar on a silicon chip” ultrasonic time-of-flight sensor with extended sensing range

  • Shipping to strategic customers, the CH-201 ultrasonic sensor will be available worldwide in Q2 2020
  • Extending the Chirp SmartSonic™ platform, the CH-201 supports a maximum sensing range of 5 meters
  • The device provides range-sensing with millimeter-precision at the industry’s lowest power consumption

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TDK Corporation (TSE: 6762) announces the immediate availability to select OEMs of the Chirp CH-201 MEMS-based ultrasonic Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor with extended sensing range. This ToF sensor utilizes a tiny ultrasonic transducer chip that sends a pulse of ultrasound and then listens for echoes returning from targets in the sensor’s field-of-view. By calculating the distance based on time of flight, the sensor can determine the location of an object relative to a device and trigger a programmed behavior.

TDK’s MEMS ultrasonic technology leverages a proprietary ToF sensor in a 3.5 mm x 3.5 mm package that combines a MEMS ultrasonic transducer with a power-efficient digital signal processor (DSP) on a custom low-power, mixed-signal CMOS ASIC. The sensor handles a variety of ultrasonic signal-processing functions, enabling customers’ flexible industrial design options for a broad range of use-case scenarios including range-finding, presence/proximity sensing, object detection/avoidance and 3D position-tracking.

Following last year’s introduction of CH-101, the first commercially available MEMS-based ultrasonic ToF sensor for consumer electronics, AR/VR, robotics, drones, IoT, automotive and industrial market segments, TDK is expanding the SmartSonic™ MEMS ultrasonic platform. This will include the CH-201 ultrasonic ToF sensor and associated software solution for room-scale sensing applications, enabling ultralow power, always-on sensing for human presence detection without privacy concerns, among many other use cases.

TDK’s MEMS ultrasonic ToF sensor platform offers numerous advantages over optical ToF sensors:

  • Ultralow power operations for always-on sensing in battery powered devices
  • Accurate range measurement regardless of target size or color; even optically transparent targets are accurately detected
  • Immunity to ambient noise without perception by house pets
  • Ability to operate in all lighting conditions, unlike IR sensors which do not work in direct sunlight
  • Ensures eye safety, contrasting with laser-based IR ToF sensors
  • Detects objects over a customizable field-of-view up to 180°, enabling a single sensor to support room-scale sensing

“The CH-201 sensor is the continuation of our pioneering work in the development of piezoelectric-MEMS technology and low-power ASIC design, enabling high-performance, low-power ultrasonic sensing in a tiny package,” said Michelle Kiang, CEO, Chirp Microsystems, a TDK Group Company. “With CH-201 sensor’s extended sensing range, product designers have a new ToF sensor option available to enable new capabilities and create unique user experiences in a broad range of consumer products. Both the CH-101 and CH-201 sensors are being used by leading consumer brands in robotic vacuum cleaners, (smart) speakers, PCs, and many more products. TDK’s CH-101 is incorporated in our SonicTrack™ 6DoF controller tracking solution for HTC’s Vive Focus Plus mobile VR system, and we expect to see several new product launches powered by TDK’s MEMS ultrasonic products in the coming year.”

The Chirp SmartSonic platform (CH-101, CH_101 module, and CH-101 developers kit) is available worldwide through distribution today. CH-201 is entering into mass production and is currently shipping to select customers. TDK will showcase the Chirp CH-101 and CH-201 platform used in VR/AR, robotics and audio products applications, along with the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of passive components, sensors, power supplies and batteries, at CES 2020, booth #11448 in Central Hall, Las Vegas Convention Center, January 7-10, 2020 in Las Vegas. For more information, please visit: or contact Chirp Sales at


  • 6-DoF: 6 Degrees of Freedom
  • 3D: 3 dimensional
  • AR/VR: Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality
  • Ultrasonic: Utilizing, produced by, or relating to ultrasonic waves or vibrations.

Main applications

  • Smart home and connected IoT devices
  • PC and displays
  • Robotics and drone
  • AR/VR
  • Mobile and wearable
  • Automotive and industrial

Main features and benefits:

  • Ultralow power
  • Accurate range measurement regardless of target size
  • Detects objects of any color, including optically transparent ones
  • Immunity to ambient noise
  • Works under any lighting condition
  • Expanded field of view (FoV)

Key data


Packaging Dimension (mm)


Range Noise


Field of View


3.5 mm x 3.5 mm x 1.25 mm

Up to 5 m

1mm RMS (typical)


Up to 180

About TDK Corporation

TDK Corporation is a leading electronics company based in Tokyo, Japan. It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK’s comprehensive portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, Chirp, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in the areas of information and communication technology and automotive, industrial and consumer electronics. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2019, TDK posted total sales of USD 12.5 billion and employed about 105,000 people worldwide.

About Chirp Microsystems

Chirp Microsystems is bringing ultrasonics to everyday products. Founded in 2013 based on pioneering research performed at the University of California, Chirp’s piezoelectric MEMS ultrasonic transducers offer long range and low power in a tiny package, enabling products that accurately perceive the three-dimensional world in which we live. Combined with Chirp’s embedded software library, these sensors advance user experiences with VR/AR, wearables, robotics, drones and occupancy detection. For more information, please visit:

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Further information on the products can be found under


InvenSense, CA, USA


+1 408-501-2278

Karbo Communications

San Francisco, CA


+1 415-255-6512

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