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capability. Xsens has a suite of technologies
to convert motion sensor measurements into
application data, deploying expertise in sensor
fusion and motion-tracking applications, drawing
on patented algorithms.
Lee of mCube expects the merged company is
expected to bring new motion sensing and tracking
solutions to the Internet of Moving Things (IoMT)
market. This includes motion sensor tracking
technology that can monitor a human body’s motions
and warm of impending injury, or in a rehabilitating
patient, if certain body parts are now ready for use
again. “Hospitals will use technology to help a patient
monitor his or her own rehabilitation,” Lee says.
“These devices will able to tell you how and when to
exercise a body part.”
Recently, mCube started sampling its latest
accelerometer, the MC3451, which is built on the company’s 3D
monolithic single-chip MEMS platform. The MC3451 (Figure 2)
contains a precision pedometer algorithm for walking and running that
attains up to 95% efficiency. The pedometer maintains high accuracy
during a phone call or in different motion environments. The sensor
also provides gesture recognition functions such as display brightness
control in multiple applications.
In another move, Japan-based TDK acquired InvenSense, a supplier
of six-axis and nine-axis motion sensors. The move enables TDK to
expand its portfolio of sensor and software platforms with its portfolio
of magnetic, pressure, temperature, and microphone sensors. TDK
will also be able to combine multiple sensor and software solutions to
expand its reach into various markets, including Io T, automotive, and
information and communications technology (ICT).
Grace believes that with the smart phone market leveling off in
growth, future opportunities for MEMS sensors will proliferate in Io T
and autonomous vehicle applications. “Many enlightened engineers are
selecting MEMS for what they bring to the party….and not because
of their technology,” Grace writes. “MEMS will continue to play a
major role in satisfying the measurement of a wide range of physical,
chemical, and optical sensing applications.”
MEMS sensor suppliers continue to refine production processes,
according to John Chong, president of MEMS sensor supplier Kionix
(Ithaca, NY). “MEMS product suppliers are continuing to focus on
improving manufacturing yields, reliability, test efficiency, and coverage,
which in turn are helping to achieve further cost reductions. There is
also more outsourcing of manufacturing
as the supply chain gets better at
Sensor manufacturers are also
integrating MEMS technology with
other devices to create solutions that
perform multiple sensing functions.
DunAn Sensing (San Jose, CA) recently
announced its TP Series integrated
pressure and temperature sensors
comprising a ceramic substrate on which
a MEMS piezeoresistive pressure sensor
and the thermistor are mounted (Figure 3). The sensor’s package does
not expose its bond wires or electrical signals to the media, thereby
improving reliability and enabling it to operate in conductive media.
The TP Series (Figure 3) is available in pressure range from 0
to 15 through 0 to 750 psi in both absolute and sealed gauge
versions. Device accuracy at 25°C is +/-0.5 percent of span, and
+/-1.5 percent of span from - 20 to +125°C. Extended temperature
range is -40 to +125°C, suiting the device for HVAC, heat pumps,
compressors, hydraulics, off-road vehicles, and industrial equipment.
Ruggedization of MEMS sensors also continues. STMicroelectronics
(Geneva, Switzerland) has introduced a water-resistant pressure
sensor, the LPS33HW (Figure 4), aimed at smart watches and
wearable fitness trackers. The sensor is designed for Samsung’s Gear
Fit 2 Pro fitness device. The 10bar pressure sensor can withstand
being submerged up to 90 meters, and exhibits low pressure noise
of 0.008 mbar to allow apps such as an altimeters, depth gauge,
or weather monitor to deliver consistent and stable results. Sensor
accuracy drift is less than +/-1 mbar a year.
Figure 3. DunAn’s
TP Series sensor
comprises a ceramic
substrate on which a
pressure sensor and the
thermistor are mounted.
Figure 4. STMicro’s LPS33HW
ruggedized MEMS sensor withstands
submersion at up to 90 meters and
maintains drift within +/-1 mbar a
year. It is aimed at smart watches and
wearable fitness trackers.