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Freescale Intros Smart Motion Sensor

April 28, 2009

Low-power 3-axis digital accelerometer with intelligent features provides orientation, shake and tap detection; precise hand movement control for portable consumer devices.

AUSTIN, TX -- Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a highly advanced low-power sensor based on proven micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology specifically engineered for handheld portable electronic devices. The 3-axis MMA7660FC accelerometer enhances user interfaces for mobile phones, small appliances and gaming by allowing the user to tap, shake or orient the device for specified commands. The device also includes smart power management features to help extend battery life.

Motion sensing is helping drive market growth for mobile messaging, browsing and overall data usage. According to a report published earlier this year by industry analyst firm iSuppli, accelerometer adoption in cell phones is forecast to grow from $220 million in 2009 to $426 million in 2010.

"Global revenue from all types of MEMS for cell phones will increase to $1.3 billion by the end of 2012, which is a substantial increase from $299 million in 2007," said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and principal analyst, MEMS, for iSuppli. "The main driver of this increase is the overwhelming adoption of accelerometers in portable electronics due to consumer demand for advanced user interfaces on mobile devices, such as touch-screen and orientation detection."

Freescale's cost-effective, low-power 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. The MMA7660FC can be configured with custom portrait/landscape trip points for six orientations: left, right, up, down, back, and front. In addition to precise hand movement control, the MMA7660FC communicates directly with the main system processor through an I2C interface for communication simplicity and flexibility.

The MMA7660FC accelerometer is designed to achieve up to five times longer battery life than current solutions on the market when continuously operating to determine motion. Configurable power saving modes and a power-select capability helps designers achieve optimal current consumption by choosing one of eight sample rates. System-level power is reduced through an automatic configurable auto wake-up/sleep feature achieved without intervention or polling by the host processor. The MMA7660FC accelerometer provides conversion to digital values at a user-configurable output data rate, offering proportional savings in supply current and power.

"The use of sophisticated accelerometer technology in portable electronic devices is evolving from a luxury to a requirement as consumer preferences continue to evolve," said Demetre Kondylis, vice president and general manager of Freescale's Sensor & Actuator Solutions Division. "With Freescale's MMA7660FC accelerometer, developers of portable electronics can now incorporate a single device for orientation, tap and shake detection while extending battery life for broader consumer adoption."

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.

Features include:

  • ±1.5g three-axis digital accelerometer with I2C
  • Low-profile 3 x 3 x 0.9 mm DFN package
  • Low current consumption
    • Off mode: 0.4 µA
    • Standby mode: 2 µA
    • Active mode: 47 µA at one sample per second
  • Configurable output data rate from 1 to 120 samples per second
  • Configurable auto wake/sleep for low power consumption
  • Configurable orientation detection for portrait/landscape capability
    • Six orientations: left, right, up, down, back, and front
  • Gesture detection, including shake and tap detection
  • Robust design, ability to survive shocks up to 10,000 g

Development Support, Price and Availability
The MMA7660FC sensor is available now for a suggested resale price starting at $1.39 (USD) in 10,000-piece quantities.

To help shorten development cycles, Freescale offers the RD3803MMA7660FC, a comprehensive kit that includes the evaluation board, plus the daughter board, PC application and corresponding device collateral. The kit is available at a suggested resale price of $119 (USD). For customers in the prototype stage, the daughter board is also available separately as KIT3803MMA7660FC at a suggested resale price of $35 (USD).

Freescale is a leading high-volume sensor provider with an extensive portfolio of acceleration, pressure and proximity touch sensors. With almost 30 years of innovation in MEMS-based 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, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, TX, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations around the world.

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