PORTLAND, Ore.—By combining an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer in a single 3-D chip stack, Invensense Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) has created the world's first nine-axis inertial navigation unit (INU) for consumer devices from smartphones to touchscreen-tablets to gaming-controllers to wearable motion-tracking modules.
"Our integrated nine-axis motion tracking module eliminates the errors that accumulate when using separate inertial sensors from different vendors," said Steve Nasiri, CEO and founder of Invensense. "The MPU-9150 MotionTracking Module will be a boon to any consumer motion-processing application, from location-based services to gesture recognition."
Invensense created its nine-axis INU by combining the world's first gyroscope combo chip (MPU-6050) with a magnetometer from Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corp. (AKM8975). The 3-D chip stack locates an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) containing the electronics and motion-processing accelerator on the bottom, with the MEMS die for the combo accelerometer/gyro in the middle, wire-bonded to AKM's magenetometer on top. Since the accelerometer, gyro and magnetometer are all three-axis, the 3-D chip stack offers the world's first nine-axis INU complete with smart sensor-fusion acceleration, in a single 4-by-4-by-1 millimeter package.
"Traditionally designers have specified different suppliers for their accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers," said Nasiri. "But now OEMs can choose a single vendor solution, which comes pre-calibrated to save time-to-market, in a single package to save PC-board space, and with built-in sensor-fusion algorithms to assure optimal performance."
Invensense MotionFusion firmware offers a turn-key solution for OEMs, and its MotionApps software platform simplifies the systems integration task for popular operating systems like Google's Android. By using AKM's proven magnetometer--used as a digital compass in everything from Apple's iPhone/iPad to Samsung's Galaxy S/Tab--toether with its accelerometer, gyroscope, and Digital Motion Processor (DMP) hardware accelerator, Invensense now offers a complete INU. Samples are available now with volume production planned by the end of the first quarter of 2012.
This sounds like a great building block for a robot navigation module. I am left wondering the big question: How much will it cost? The size is really nice and features look good, but there is not much information on the ASIC provided motion processing. I wonder what this device is capable of and what its drift, accuracy, and stability is? I will wait and see, hopefully there will be more details soon..!
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