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Virtus and Acutronic USA to Develop MEMS Inertial Testing Tools

September 9, 2008

The collaborative effort aims to integrate the companies' expertise in inertial-testing and MEMS sensor technology to produce high-throughput evaluation systems for 5- and 6-axis sensing devices.


PITTSBURGH /PRNewswire/ -- Virtus Advanced Sensors and Acutronic USA announced a collaboration to develop advanced tools for the testing of 5- and 6-axis MEMS inertial sensors based on Virtus' proprietary next-generation sensor technology.

The collaboration aims to integrate Acutronic's world-class inertial testing expertise with Virtus' expertise in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) inertial sensors to drive development of cost-effective, high-throughput test systems for 5- and 6-axis MEMS inertial sensors. An affordable high-speed 5- and 6-degree-of-freedom test capability is not currently commercially available. The development of such a system would spark the growth of new high-performance, low-cost MEMS-based products, such as industrial robots, automotive ride stability controls, and consumer home health products. The alliance brings together two leaders in the inertial sensing market.

"It has been widely acknowledged that growth in the MEMS inertial sensor market globally is quite strong, and there will be a continuing need to expand product and related testing capabilities for high-volume applications," according to Louis Ross, President and CEO of Virtus. "Virtus ' collaboration with Acutronic will ensure that customers for our next-generation sensor products will have advanced testing capabilities as well. We are also excited about our prospects in the European market and customer interest in our 5- and 6-axis motion sensor technology. Acutronic is an ideal partner for us."

For Acutronic, the agreement marks a major milestone in its vision of delivering turnkey inertial testing solutions to the MEMS industry. Acutronic has a broad range of products to serve the needs of the aerospace and defense markets. The collaboration will help to transition this technology to the MEMS inertial sensor market.

"MEMS inertial sensors are playing an increasing role in some of today's most innovative products," said Dominique Schinabeck, Chairman and CEO of Acutronic USA. "This trend is creating a market demand for testing technology designed specifically for this market."

"We are excited to work with VIRTUS," stated Larry Zana, Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, at Acutronic USA. "We believe their expertise in multi-axis MEMS inertial sensors will ensure that our suite of inertial MEMS testing solutions will completely meet the needs of this emerging market at all scales, from development through high-volume production."

About Acutronic
Established in 1986, Acutronic USA is a recognized world leader in the design, manufacture, and service of motion-simulation equipment and inertial-guidance test systems for the automotive, defense, space, and aerospace markets. "Acutronic USA pioneered the development of the first truly digital motion control system for IGTS and HWIL flight motion-simulation applications." Today, the Acutrol3000 digital motion controller is "unparalleled for these applications," with more than 230 field-proven units installed worldwide. In 2005, Acutronic acquired the assets of Carco Electronics, thereby consolidating a more than 40-year heritage of motion system technology and products with the Acutronic product line. Acutronic's intellectual property portfolio now represents approximately 99% of the worldwide installed base of HWIL flight motion-simulation systems.

About Virtus
Virtus Advanced Sensors is a leading developer of multi-axis inertial sensor technology, developed using MEMS and micro-machining methods. The company maintains a broad-based international patent portfolio on multi-axis accelerometers, gyros, and integrated motion sensors. Virtus' true single-chip solution to producing multi-axis MEMS inertial sensors is an "industry first, and will lead to the production of the world's first single chip 5- and 6-axis MEMS motion sensors for use in a wide variety of applications in the consumer electronics, automotive, industrial, medical, robotics, and aerospace/defense industries."


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