LONDON – The MEMS Industry Group (MIG), a trade association for companies in the MEMS sensor industry sector, has released version 1.0 of the Standardized sensor performance parameter definitions, after year-long effort by a working group.
Karen Lightman, executive director of MIG, said there are plans to continue the work. Software and software interfaces for such things as the fusion of data from MEMS sensors is likely to be the next step, Lightman said.
The initial document, co-authored by Ken Foust of Intel Corp. and Carlos Puig of Qualcomm Technologies Inc., identifies the physical, electrical and mechanical performance parameter specifications of accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, pressure sensors, hygrometers, temperature sensors, ambient light sensors and proximity sensors. Essentially it provides performance measurement requirements for the breadth of inertial and other sensors used in consumer applications and elsewhere.
The document is designed to allow chipset manufacturers, consumer-platform providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), original design manufacturers (ODMs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) with a standardized means to evaluate sensors for their applications, thereby streamlining the supply chain. Buyers will be in a position to say that vendors must document their sensors to this standard or risk being excluded from consideration.
Intel and Qualcomm Technologies embraced a leadership role producing the document, which is intended to provide the means for apples-to-apples comparisons of disparate micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors from diverse sensor vendors, MIG said.
Karen Lightman: executive director of the MEMS Industry Group.
"Under MIG's guidance and through the tireless leadership of Intel and Qualcomm Technologies, the sensor industry has acknowledged an important product specification issue," said Lightman.
"As the mobile sensor space continues to evolve, we will continue to take an active role in developing and supporting a standard that will help the industry, our suppliers and customers," said Len Sheynblat, vice president of technology, Qualcomm Technologies Inc., in a statement issued by MIG.
"Intel recognizes the important role of a specification that breaks down barriers in evaluating MEMS sensors. In the past, this evaluation was either too light to produce credible conclusions or far too heavy, time-consuming and expensive. This specification brings us closer to a more scalable middle approach, which we hope will accelerate more meaningful evaluation," said Steve Whalley, director of sensors at Intel, in the same statement.
The MIG, which has close to 150 company members, also acknowledged the contributions towards the standard of Analog Devices, Bosch Sensortec, Freescale Semiconductor, Hillcrest Labs, InvenSense, Kionix, Maxim Integrated, Movea, NIST, PNI Sensor, STMicroelectronics and Xsens Technologies.
Starting with a common language for performance spec is a great beginning. The fact that quite a number of companies involved in the effort (notice that TI is absent!) agree to provide these metrics in their respective data sheets minimizes headaches to developers. It also makes MEMS product selection criteria more objective.
I hope MIG or MEMS vendors offer a selection tool based on common performance performance specs that are now standardized.
A great leap forward.
I've been looking at MEMS sensors for various things in the past, and found egregious omissions - for example sensors completely omitting any mention of noise!
(The part of course did not actually have none)