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3-axis MEMs gyro chip debuts

PORTLAND, Ore. — A three-axis gyroscope chip developed by InvenSense Inc. combines separate MEMs resonators for motion tracking, offering a cheaper alternative for game controllers and remote control devices.

InvenSense (Sunnyvale, Calif.) claims it three-axis gyroscope chip is the first of its kind for motion tracking in the x, y and z (pitch, roll and yaw) axes. It also claims its ITG-3200 gyro chip could replace current game controllers and 3-D remote controls. New applications based on the chip are expected to appear during the first half of 2010, the company said.

“We have already delivered over 10,000 preproduction devices to gaming- and 3-D remote controller makers,” said Invensense CEO Steven Nasiri. Customers were not identified.

Gyro applications include image stabilization for digital still cameras and camera phones, dead reckoning for navigation devices (when GPS signals are lost indoors), 3-D peripherals such as mice and TV remote controllers and gaming controllers.

“MEMS gyroscopes with the requisite three-axes of detection should open the flood gates to a whole range of new interfaces,” said Richard Dixon, senior analyst for MEMS at market researcher iSuppli Corp. (El Segundo, Calif.).

The InvenSense single-chip MEMS gryoscope consumes 50 percent less power and takes up 67 percent less board space than current two-chip solutions that combine two-axis with a single-axis gyros, the company claims. Measuring 4 x 4 x 0.9 millimeters, the ITG-3200 will be introduced at the same price as two-chip gyros ($1 per axis).

The device is based on the patented Nasiri process, invented by the company's CEO, which caps the analog MEMS chip with an ASIC of the same size, thereby protecting the delicate MEMS resonators from contamination without adding bulk to the package. Each ITG-3200 chip will cost $3.

Each of the three gyros has its own 16-bit analog-to-digital converter, includes on-chip temperature sensor and supplies a real-time clock output to synchronize it with an applications master controller. A fast mode I2C serial interface connects the gyro chip to system chips. The device is said to be able to withstand up to 10,000-g shocks without damage.

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