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Low-power accelerometer packs gesture recognition

Posted: 17 Feb 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MEMS? accelerometer? power management?

Freescale Semiconductor Inc. has unveiled a new generation of three-axis MEMS accelerometers that claim to set a record for low-power consumption and provide smarter built-in gesture recognition algorithms.

"Developers of mobile phones and other consumer devices using our new, smarter accelerometer can now incorporate enhanced functionality to improve the end user's experience, while extending battery life too," said Demetre Kondylis, VP and general manager of Freescale's sensor and actuator solutions division. "Only 3 percent of mobile phones used an accelerometer in 2007, but we expect that number to jump to 33 percent in 2010 thanks to advances in MEMS technology and consumer demand for enhanced user interfaces."

The stakes are high, since the MEMS market is expected to reach $8.3 billion by 2012, up from $5.6 billion in 2006, according to market research firm iSuppli Corp. MEMS accelerometers in particular are used for a variety of smart functions, from power management to extend battery life to shutting down if you drop it to gesture recognition in the user-interfaces built by OEMS. The new three-axis accelerometer are designed for portable consumer devices including mobile phones, remote controls, smartbooks, eReaders, netbooks, laptop PCs, GPS navigators, handheld medical devices and for safety shutoff functions in power tools and small appliances.

"Our new MMA8450Q three-axis accelerometer consumes less power than any other accelerometer of which we are aware," said Michelle Kelsey, Freescale's marketing manager for inertial sensors. "Any mobile device choosing our accelerometer will extend its battery life considerably."

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