PORTLAND, Ore. —Smarter three-axis accelerometers with lower power and noise, but higher resolution, were unveiled by Freescale Semiconductor Tuesday (Sept. 14) at the Freescale Technology Forum in Tokyo.
As the newest members of its Xtrinsic family of smart MEMS sensors, the new accelerometers include configurable DSP functions for smarter human interfaces as well as smarter power management. The MMA845xQ accelerometers have already been sampled to key customers and have just gone into volume production for applications in smartphones, personal navigation devices, music players, gaming controllers, digital cameras, eReaders and netbooks, according to Freescale.
"Like the other members of the Freescale's Xtrinsic sensing solutions line, the MMA845xQ has on-chip intelligence to enhance performance, lower power requirements and make the designer's job easier," said Bryce Osoinach, product line manager at Freescale. "We have listened to our customers and included the performance, extended battery life and smarts that they want, including the ability to detect motion, shock, tilt, jolt, vibration and freefall."
Strong growth in the mobile handsets, gaming controller and digital camera markets will propel the consumer-grade MEMS sensor market into double digit growth, according to iSuppli (El Segundo, Calif.) which predicts the total MEMS market will top $6.5 billion in 2010, up more than 11 percent from last year.
Accelerometers are already used for orientation detection, tap detection, theft prevention and image stability. But Freescale's new accelerometers also address new applications that developers are just now designing to not only detect taps, but also the direction from which they came, thereby allowing complex gestures to be detected.
"We can now detect the direction of a tap or shake, enabling more advanced gestures to be detected, such as lasso and flick," said Osoinach.
Freescale's MMA845xQ offers models with 10-, 12- or 14-bit resolution, plus claims to have ultra-low-noise at just 100 micro-g. Freescale also claims ultra-lower power for extended battery life, consuming just 1.8 microamps in standby and as little as six microamps in active mode. The new accelerometers save even more power by using a 32-sample first-in-first-out (FIFO) buffer to store readings until an event is detected which warrants powering up and sending them en masse to the host processor.
three 10-, 12- and 14-bit accelerometers from Freescale MMA845xQ have identical
Power consumption can also be trimmed by turning sample rates down from 800 Hz to as slow as 1.5 Hz, as well as by adjusting supply voltage anywhere between 3.6 volts down to 1.62 volts. The MMA845xQ fits in a 3-by-3-by-1 millimeter package and works with Freescale's Sensor Toolbox by virtue of small daughterboards.
Freescale MMA845xQ accelerometer houses three-axis, the smarts for configurable
DSP functions and multiple low power, stanby and sleep modes to extend battery
The addition of smarts to the accelerometer is a welcome feature! Having embedded DSP on chip will enable better performance and ease the host system's processing burden. I look forward to seeing them first hand. I like the low noise and daughter board approach as well. I had best get moving to sample some of these, don't want to fall behind.
Accelerometers with the ability to sense the direction of gestures like taps will make touch interfaces much more flexible--after all a tap could come from any of six directions. What I look forward to even more are intuitive gestures like lasso and flick, which I predict users will come to expect as much as tap-to-select.
Tap direction detection will take the application of accelerometer at something unpredicted features of personal electronics devices, lets see what comes the next.
The package as well become so much tiny that it can be easily accommodated in any electronic product.
Also the reduction in the sampling rate from 800Hz to 1.5Hz is something remarkable achievement for freescale.