Freescale Advances Motion Sensing For Consumer Devices

BARCELONA, Spain (Mobile World Congress) -- Freescale Semiconductor has introduced the latest in motion-sensing technology to enhance mobile consumer experiences. The MMA8450Q accelerometer is a highly accurate, power-efficient solution that extends battery life for smart mobile devices and captures precise movement via highly sensitive gesture and orientation detection capabilities.

The MMA8450Q accelerometer is designed for next-generation mobile devices, such as smartphones and smartbooks, which require an ideal blend of performance, portability and battery life to satisfy market requirements. The 3-axis digital sensor plays a key role in Freescale's smartbook tablet reference design, which debuted last month at CES 2010.

The device offers a broad range of embedded and highly configurable functions designed to help OEMs address specific product requirements, including orientation, tap, double tap, jolt, freefall and shake detection capabilities.

According to a recent iSuppli report, the microelectromechanical system (MEMS) market is expected to reach $8.3 billion by 2012, up from $5.6 billion in 2006.

"Despite the deep cuts in consumer spending on major electronics and mobile products, the MEMS industry continues to thrive in mobile handsets and consumer devices," said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst, MEMS, for iSuppli. "A number of factors drive the success of MEMS sensors, including the desire for intuitive motion-based interfaces in mobile devices and providing rich and realistic experiences."

The MMA8450Q sensor features 12-bit digital resolution and is contained in a compact, 3 x 3 x 1 mm package. It offers intelligent data management capabilities, with an internal first-in/first-out (FIFO) 32-samples/axis (X-, Y- and Z-axis) memory buffer engineered to improve overall system power savings and response time by offloading functions from the host processor. Using the FIFO buffer along with the embedded functions can allow the end processor to analyze only the required data, while at the same time helping to protect from the possibility of data loss when multiplexing other sensors on the same I2C bus. Configurable power saving modes and auto-wake/sleep capability help designers achieve optimal current consumption. The extensive configurability for each of the embedded functions that can be tied to the auto-wake/sleep function can enable context-aware products for more power efficiency.

"Only three percent of mobile phones contained an accelerometer in 2007 according to analyst firm iSuppli, but thanks to advances in MEMS technology and consumer demand for enhanced user interfaces, that number is expected to jump to 33 percent in 2010," said Demetre Kondylis, vice president and general manager of Freescale's Sensor & Actuator Solutions Division. "With Freescale's MMA8450Q accelerometer, developers of mobile phones and other consumer devices can now incorporate enhanced functionality while extending battery life and ultimately improving the end user's experience."

Target applications for the MMA8450Q accelerometer include portable consumer devices such as mobile phones and remote controls, as well as smartbooks, eReaders, netbooks, laptop PCs, PMPs and PDAs. Additional applications include activity monitoring for medical applications, dead-reckoning assistance for navigation applications, position detection for fleet tracking and safety shutoff for power tools and small appliances.

Features include:

  • 12-bit digital output
  • ±2g, ±4g, ±8g 3-axis digital accelerometer with I2C
  • Accessible 32 sample FIFO for simplified motion detection analysis
  • Low current consumption
    • Off mode: 2 µA
    • Standby mode: 10 µA max standby current (I2C active)
    • Active mode (27 to 120 low power mode; 42 to 250 normal mode):
      • 27 µA typical (ODR=50 Hz, low power mode)
      • 42 µA typical (ODR=100 Hz, low power mode)
  • Programmable 2 interrupt pins for 8 interrupt sources
  • Low voltage operation: 1.71 V to 1.89 V
  • Embedded functions/features:
    • Four channels of motion detection
      • Freefall or motion detection: 2 channels
      • Pulse detection: 1 channel
      • Transient detection: 1 channel
    • Orientation (portrait/landscape) detection with hysteresis compensation
    • Automatic output data rate change for auto-wake-up and return-to-sleep
    • Self test
  • Robust design, ability to survive shocks up to 10,000 g

Development support, price and availability
The MMA8450Q sensor is available now for a suggested resale price starting at $1.67 (USD) in 10,000-piece quantities.

To help accelerate time-to-market and demonstrate the benefits of the multiple embedded functions of the MMA8450Q, Freescale offers two development kits that both come with a PC Graphical User Interface software program. Freescale offers the RD3924MMA8450Q development kit that contains the necessary components for evaluating the MMA8450Q accelerometer including the sensor board (LFSTBEB8450Q) and the USB communication board (LFSTBUSB). The LFSTBEB8450 and LFSTBUSE are both part of Freescale's Sensor Toolbox, a unified set of development software, hardware tools and accessories for sensor applications. The Sensor Toolbox provides comprehensive enablement for all sensor types in the Freescale portfolio: acceleration, pressure and touch sensors.

The LFSTBEB8450 development board is available for a suggested resale price of $75 (USD). In addition, for customers who may not have purchased the Sensor Toolbox accelerometer USB board, the RD3924MMA8450 bundles the accelerometer and USB boards for a suggested resale price of $99 (USD).

The smartbook reference design that contains the MMA8450Q accelerometer is available now for evaluation through local Freescale sales representatives.

Freescale is a leading high-volume sensor provider with an extensive portfolio of acceleration, pressure and touch sensors. As a sensor technology leader, Freescale has surpassed its billionth sensor shipment, and 2010 marks the 30-year anniversary of manufacturing MEMS sensors. Freescale is leveraging its experience in high-volume, high-quality manufacturing for automotive applications into sensor product solutions for the growing consumer and industrial markets.

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, TX, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations around the world.