STMicroelectronics reveals 9-axis movement/position sensor

STMicroelectronics has revealed its most advanced module for 9-axis movement and position sensing in next-generation mobiles and tiny wearable devices.

Delivering enhanced performance with reduced power demand, in a 3.5mm x 3mm outline, which is almost 35 percent smaller than previous generations, the LSM9DS1 module supports the context awareness needed for features such as gesture controls, indoor navigation, and augmented reality. Its small size and battery efficiency, achieved by using ST’s latest low-noise sensor technology, enhance the usability and comfort of wearable devices by reducing bulk and extending battery life between charges. In addition, greater positional resolution enhances the stability and precision of applications such as smart-TV remotes, game controllers, and wearable sports or medical sensors.

“This tiny, high-performance 9-axis module leverages our latest MEMS technology to enable a wide variety of position-sensing and movement-tracking applications in next-generation mobile and wearable devices,” said Benedetto Vigna, Executive Vice President and General Manager Analog, MEMS & Sensors Group, STMicroelectronics. “With 30 percent higher magnetometer resolution, 20 percent lower power and a footprint more than one-third smaller than other devices, designers have extra freedom to establish new form factors and improve stability and performance.”

The LSM9DS1 contains a 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis magnetometer, all fabricated using ST’s latest MEMS process technology. These sensors detect linear acceleration, angular rate and magnetic field to provide complete position- and movement-sensing data. Moreover, they are well integrated and synchronized to provide true 9-degree-of-freedom sensing rather than separate, uncoordinated data inputs. On the other hand, each sensor can be powered-down individually with automatic wake-up, allowing extra-smart power management.

Compatibility with ST’s LSM6 family of 6-axis IMUs (Inertial Measurement Units) simplifies upgrading or scaling of existing designs to add magnetic-field detection for functions such as e-compass and orientation sensing. Product developers can also upgrade current designs that combine a 6-axis LSM6 device with a discrete magnetometer to achieve a space-saving, simplified and reliable integrated solution based on the LSM9DS1.

Compared to earlier 9-axis sensor modules in the 4mm x 4mm LGA package, the LSM9DS1′s footprint of 3.5mm x 3mm saves over 5mm2 of pc-board space. This reduction in area, combined with the low package height of only 1mm, is valuable to designers seeking to add extra functionality in smartphones or create innovative new products in comfortable, wearable form factors, including glasses.

At the same time, the device has 30 percent higher magnetometer resolution, due to ST’s latest low-noise process technology, as well as 20 percent lower overall power consumption. ST’s advanced technology also delivers a significant reduction in accelerometer zero-g offset, to below 100 milli-g, and reduces typical gyroscope rate noise to 0.008 dps per square root of Hz at low full-scale. These improvements enable any mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet, controller or various wearables including smart glasses to support accurate motion tracking, efficient and reliable contextual awareness, and precise orientation and heading. ST’s latest MEMS process technology also contributes to power savings in combination with smart power-management modes which, together, reduce typical operating current to just 2mA.

Engineering samples of the LSM9DS1 are available now, in the 3.5mm x 3mm LGA leadless package, and budgetary unit pricing is $2.70 for orders over 1,000 pieces.

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