Sensor fusion hub simplfies portable designs

March 06, 2013 // By Nick Flaherty
Swiss chip designer EM Microelectronic has teamed up with PNI Sensor to develop a sensor fusion hub to integrate complex motion sensors on mobile devices.

The Sentral sensor fusion hub is the first hub designed specifically to manage sensor outputs on a low-power integrated circuit, making 9-axis motion sensing outputs both super-precise and practical to implement. Carrying top-of-the-line sensor fusion algorithms on an extremely low-power integrated circuit, Sentral eliminates the need for complex sensor configurations, calibrations and algorithm development. Further, it dramatically reduces power usage, offloading sensor fusion work from less efficient host CPUs or sensor CPUs onto an ultra low-power IC tailor-made for sensor optimization.

Sentral makes the integration of 9-axis sensor systems faster and easier, and at the same time, improves the quality, reliability and utility of output from the accelerometers, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensors. Compatible with Android and Windows 8-based mobile products, Sentral delivers the most accurate (2° of heading accuracy), real-time motion-related data available.

Because it is designed and built specifically to meet the power needs of the mobile market, the Sentral IC is ultra low power and consumes less than 10% of the power used by other CPUs performing the task of sensor fusion. It maximizes battery life even for applications that need constant processing of sensor data.

Sentral can support a wide variety of gyros, accelerometers and magnetic sensors from multiple and changing vendors. This allows for separate placement of the sensors, and manufacturers are not tied to a single source or sensor type. Because it uses a mere 800µAmps of power in normal operation, it frees up valuable CPU power and battery life, and with a mere 1.6x1.6x0.5mm footprint, it takes up minimal space.