PORTLAND, Ore.Gyroscopes are now being integrated into future smartphones, according to Invensene Inc., which claims two major handset vendor design wins for its latest 3-axis gyrothe world first MEMS motion sensor specifically designed for smartphones.
"Three-axis MEMS gyros will redefine how we use our phones, providing a critical differentiator for manufacturers in the $115 billion smartphone market," said Will Strauss, principal at market research firm Forward Concepts Inc.
Micro-electro mechanical system (MEMS) chip maker Invensense (Sunnyvale, Calif.) is already shipping 30 million MEMS chips per month into multiple markets, including remote controls, gaming controllers and image stabilization for digital cameras to customers like Nintendo, Logitech, LG, Fuji, Samsung, Pentax, Tom Tom and numerous smaller original equipment manufacturers in Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Now Invensense wants to crack the smartphone market with a specialized 3-axis gyro that integrates with existing accelerometers from any vendor, to offer 6-axis motion processing to mobile phone users.
"We are getting into the smartphone market in a big way, and we already have two design wins," said Invensense CEO Steven Nasiri, who declined to name the design-wins except to say they were major handset makers. "We estimate that in less than two years, every phone will be a smartphone with a camera, WiFi, Bluetooth and email. What will differentiate them will be applications. Users will ask for a music phone, a gaming phone, a book phone, a health phone, and so onand our 6-axis gyro will be what makes these applications fun and easy to use."
Today seven out of 10 games for the iPhone use the built-in MEMS accelerometer as a smart controller that allows users to tilt, shake and otherwise use motion to control games. It is expected in the future nearly every application-specific phone will use a MEMS gyroscope, in conjunction with an accelerometer, to make the user-interface to the applications fun and easy to use. A gyro has an internal oscillator that allows it to detect subtle motions in any orientation, unlike accelerometers which can be sluggish since they must work against gravity.
Invensense's motion processing unit, MPU-3000, makes it easier for OEMs to harness the built-in 3-axis gyroscope by housing an on-board digital motion processor (DMP) a hardware accelerator engine that offloads the host application processor from performing motion processing tasks. The DMP handles six-axis sensor fusion by melding the output from the built-in gyroscope with the output of any accelerometer, to supply quaternion output to the handset's application processor.
A motion processing library handles the execution of motion tasks using multiprocessing algorithms that allow many different motion recognition tasks to be performed simultaneously. The motion processing library has built-in algorithms for most motion processing tasks including gesture recognition.
The MPU-3000 offer speeds of from 250 to 2,000 degrees per second, has built-in 16-bit analog to digital converters, programmable digital filters, 1 percent sensitivity and consumes just 13mW of power, according to Invensense. The 4-by-4-by-0.9 millimeter package interfaces to other chips over either I2C or SPI digital interfaces, according to the company.