Smart MEMS ease mobile apps

PORTLAND, Ore. &#151 As more mobile devices incorporate micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) chips to detect orientation and control functions—from scrolling the display to preventing damage from drops—accelerometers need low power for always-on operation to prolong battery life. Kionix claims the industry's lowest power with the introduction of its digital-output, tri-axis accelerometers combined with smart, hard-wired on-chip algorithms designed to unburden a mobile device's microcontroller.

The KXTE9 accelerometer uses just 30 microamps of power compared with the usual 200-300 microamps, according to Eric Eisenhut, Kionix vice president, sales and marketing.The embedded algorithms for orientation and activity monitoring simplify implementing user-experience enhancements by automatically signaling switches from landscape to portrait orientation, Eisenhut added.

Most mobile device's microprocessors must implement detection of orientation from raw accelerometer sensor data, but Kionix embedded algorithms signal when to switch from landscape and portrait mode, as well as power management functions like go-to-standby mode when face-down or inactive and turn-on when face-up or active.

The company is also experimenting with more sophisticated enhancements to its embedded intelligence algorithms for future accelerometer models.

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