MEMS’ latest battleground: Hardware-agnostic sensor fusion?: Page 3 of 3

March 28, 2012 //By Junko Yoshida, EE Times
As more and more MEMS sensors are showing up in mobile devices, the focus of MEMS design has begun shifting from discrete MEMS components to MEMS sensor data integration. How raw data from multiple sensors is “fused” and “interpreted” makes a noticeable difference in a system’s power consumption and apps performance, according to Ian Chen, executive vice president, Sensor Platforms, Inc., a San Jose, California-based start-up.
stray magnetic fields. Freescale is offering its sensor fusion algorithms as a free download for its MEMS sensor users.

Meanwhile, STMicroelectronics last fall rolled out its own sensor fusion algorithms called iNEMO Engine Sensor Fusion Suite. According to ST, its iNEMO Engine can be combined with ST’s iNEMO Inertial Modules to create complete and customizable hardware/software multi-axis MEMS sensor solutions for enhanced motion and accurate heading recognition.

These MEMS sensor vendors use proprietary libraries to lock customers into their products, explained Sensor Platforms’ Chen, in contrast to his company’s hardware-independent sensor fusion software.

Semico’s Massimini, describing sensor fusion as “still at early stages,” expects “more innovation as it draws more attention.” While the competitive landscape remains far from being defined, Massimini mentioned Movea as a potential competitor.

“Movea has been delivering solutions for several years while Sensor Platforms is a startup just hitting the market,” he said. Movea is offering motion-responsive software, firmware, and semiconductor IP for markets such as mobile and tablets, Interactive TV and sports and eHealth. Massimini noted, “Movea has developed a system that allows system developers to implement their algorithms using Movea IP blocks. Movea is working with a CAD vendor so the output of this tool can be used to design an ASIC.”

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