PORTLAND, Ore. -- Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) chips are driving the adoption of consumer devices by offering gee-whiz capabilities -- from image stabilization to indoor navigation -- that are just not possible with conventional electronics. Unfortunately, every sensor maker has a different interface, which complicates designers' efforts to integrate MEMS devices from different manufacturers. To the rescue is the Intel, Qualcomm and the MEMS Industry Group (MIG), which announced its free download entitled Standardized Sensor Performance Parameter Definitions on the same day that MEMS vendor InvenSense announced new accelerometers and gyroscopes that set records in small size and low power.
"MEMS are ubiquitous in mobile devices," said Steve Whalley, director of sensors at Intel. "Intel recognizes the important role of a specification that breaks down barriers in evaluating MEMS sensors."
Intel does not yet integrate MEMS sensors directly onto its mobile systems-on-chip (SoCs) but does need to provide input/output (I/O) interfaces that make it convenient for designers using its parts to add-on MEMS sensors from other vendors -- especially now that Microsoft's Surface requires vendors to add accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetometers to all Windows 8 tablets. Qualcomm, on the other hand, has both processors and MEMS chips, both of which have a vested interest in MEMS standardization.
"Qualcomm Technologies recognizes the importance of standardizing sensor parameters for the mobile device ecosystem," said Len Sheynblat, vice president of technology, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "We will continue to take an active role in developing and supporting the standards that will help the industry, our suppliers and customers."
Conversion times versus light intensity standardized to "low", "nominal" and "high" by MEMS Industry Group (MIG), Intel and Qualcomm's free download entitled "Standardized Sensor Performance Parameter Definitions." SOURCE: MIG
Click on image to enlarge.
Other contributors to the Standardized Sensor Performance Parameter Definitions
include Analog Devices, Bosch Sensortec, Freescale Semiconductor, Hillcrest Labs, InvenSense, Kionix, Maxim Integrated, Movea, NIST, PNI Sensor Corporation, STMicroelectronics and Xsens Technologies.
Besides standardizing interfaces, the Standardized Sensor Performance Parameter Definitions
also simplifies comparisons among MEMS chips from different vendors, which today can be difficult and error-prone, according to co-authors with MIG, Ken Foust of Intel and Carlos Puig of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.