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Digital compass enables thinner, tinier mobile devices

Posted: 02 Jul 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:e-compass module? digital compasses? standalone motion sensors.?

STMicroelectronics has released an ultra-compact, high-performance e-compass module. The new device expands the company's sensor portfolio.

ST said the integration of motion and magnetic sensing in a tiny 3 x 3 x 1mm package opens new possibilities for advanced navigation and location-based services in ever-sleeker portable consumer devices.

The ST e-compass' ability to provide accurate heading information, such as indicate the direction in which a person or vehicle is moving, enables a wide range of applications, including pedestrian dead-reckoning, map/display orientation, and direction finding. Tied to location-based service apps, compassing capabilities can help consumers identify and retrieve information on nearby points of interest, such as historical or geographical points of interest, restaurants or shops, by simply pointing their GPS-equipped mobile devices in the direction of the object concerned.

Reducing the size by 60 percent over devices currently in production, ST said its new digital compasses have effectively shrunk to the size of single-function, standalone motion sensors. At the same time, the new modules boast superior sensing precision with extended magnetic-scale range and minimized measurement noise. The significant size and performance benefits enable OEMs to add new compelling functionality in mobile gadgets while keeping pace in the miniaturization race.

The LSM303D module provides extremely accurate output across full-scale ranges up to 16g (linear acceleration) and 12 Gauss (magnetic field).The device embeds a temperature sensor and a programmable FIFO (first-in first-out) memory block for advanced motion recognition and smart power management. Advanced features include two programmable interrupt signals that enable immediate notification of motion detection,

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