PORTLAND, Ore. – The volume of STMicroelectronics’ latest 6-axis MEMS chip has been halved and the device adds programmable motion sensing engines. ST’s iNEMO inertial module, the LSM330, combines a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope and two programmable state machines for gesture recognition.
ST supplies the inertial sensor for Apple's iPhone and iPad, both of which use separate accelerometer and gyroscope chips. Samsung was recently found to have switched to ST's LSM330DLC 6-axis combo chip for its Galaxy S III GT smartphone. The LSM330, successor to the LSM330DLC, measures just 3 x 3.5 mm.
The combo chip also includes two new state machines that execute motion processing algorithms. Previously, motion detection and gesture recognition were handled off-chip by a separate microcontroller, or by the application processor itself. ST said its new chip can perform many of those functions, thus cutting overall system power usage as well as saving board space while lowering a device's bill of materials.
The state machines can be programmed by OEMs to detect free fall, to wake up devices when motion is detected, for orientation detection, pulse counting, step recognition and other motions.
The device includes a first-in, first-out memory block to reduce power consumption by storing readings between polling sessions and operate with supply voltages between 2.4 and 3.6 volts. It can handle acceleration detection up to 16 Gs as well as pitch, roll and yaw rotations at up to 2,000 degrees per second.
The MEMS chip also supports location-based services on smartphones and tablets, such as matching indoor/outdoor locations to maps for navigation and augmented reality. ST is also targeting the LSM330 at sports, fitness and health care applications.