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ST's eCompass combines 3-axis accelerometer, magnetometer

Posted: 26 Jul 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:STMicroelectronics? accelerometer? magnetometer? navigation? smartphones?

STMicroelectronics recently claimed the world's smallest eCompass combining a 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis magnetometer in a single package.

The LSM303C integrates a high-performance three-axis magnetic field sensor with a state-of-the-art three-axis accelerometer to provide an accurate orientation signal at its 16bit digital output. With a full-scale magnetic-field strength range of 1600?T, the magnetic-field sensor has a wider dynamic range than alternative devices. The chip is used for advanced navigation and motion-sensitive features in products such as smartphones.

ST's LSM303C eCompass Measuring just 2x2mm, helping designers optimise their component layout and minimise WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular radio interference while also improving the performance of applications like indoor navigation or advanced motion tracking. For other smart consumer and professional applications, the LSM303C's size advantage enables smaller form factors. In addition, the package of this combined accelerometer and magnetometer is board-compatible with ST's 12-lead pure-accelerometer devices, allowing designers to quickly enhance or upgrade the features of more basic products.

The accelerometer has selectable full-scale range of 2, 4 or 8g, and combines high resolution with state-of-the-art output accuracy. It also has advanced power management, thermal compensation, a wide analogue supply-voltage range, and programmable interrupt generators for movement, free-fall and magnetic-field detection helping streamline system design. The low noise level and low power consumption of the LSM303C also help simplify software design by allowing motion applications to operate continuously.

The eCompass can be combined with a discrete miniature gyroscope from ST's large MEMS portfolio, such as the 3x3mm L3GD20H, to achieve 9-axis sensing in equipment such as high-end smartphones, gaming controllers or sports monitors. ST's sensor portfolio comprises discrete accelerometers, magnetic-field sensors and gyroscopes, digital compasses such as the new LSM303C, integrated inertial modules with 6 or 9 degrees of freedom, ARM-based smart sensors, the iNEMO Engine sensor-fusion software suite, and the iNEMO-M1 small form-factor system on board.

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