Freescale starts move to single sensor platform

Paul Boughton

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a highly advanced low-power sensor that marks the start of a move to integrate multiple sensor functions in a single package

The three-axis MMA7660FC accelerometer is based on proven 0.13um micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology developed for the automotive industry but specifically engineered for handheld portable electronic devices. The accelerometer integrates a number of smart motion features such as orientation, shake and tap detection with auto wake-up/sleep detection in a compact 3 x 3 x 0.9mm package with five times the power efficiency of previous devices at 0.4μA in 'off' mode, 2μA in standby and 47μA in active mode at one sample per second.

This is a first step to a platform that integrates accelerometer, magnetometer and touchscreen controller, as well as a processor core, says Thierry Cammal, Marketing Director for Freescale's Consumer Segment in Europe. “We will be introducing a smart sensor platform with an integrated microcontroller core for a complete sub-system in a single package,” he said.

The company is partnering with other device suppliers on magnetometer technology to ad to the accelerometer to create an electronic compass in a single package as an inertial sensor. “With a complete inertial unit to drive these applications, eventually we could imagine we could add the touch capability with proximity sensors for multi-touch so eventually we have the complete sensor system,” he said.

Key applications for the MMA7660FC accelerometer include portable consumer devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and digital cameras. Additional applications include shock detection and motion control in PCs and peripherals, activity monitoring in medical and sports applications, and orientation and freefall detection in gaming and toys.