Freescale unveils new high-precision pressure sensor

Freescale Semiconductor introduced a new high-precision pressure sensor for
altitude detection designed to help users further leverage advanced navigation
capabilities and emerging location-based services such as GPS assist and e911.


The Freescale Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 pressure
sensor, based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, complements
the accelerometers and magnetometers in the Xtrinsic portfolio to meet the
growing demand for these types of components in smart mobile devices.


The Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 smart digital pressure sensor processes pressure and temperature data locally, requiring fewer computations
assigned to the applications processor and thereby reducing power significantly
compared to systems using basic sensors directly managed by the host processor.


The pressure sensor features optimal efficiency with a
FIFO (first-in/first-out) memory buffer, a standby mode of 2 micro amps and a
low-power mode of 8.5 micro amps for current consumption savings depending on
conditions of the processor and output data rates chosen.


According to research firm IHS iSuppli Corp, the demand
for MEMS technology in consumer electronics and mobile handsets will grow by
25.6 percent in 2011.


In conjunction with accelerometers, compasses and
gyroscopes, pressure sensors will be a key component for indoor navigation
solutions in combination with other location technologies such as WiFi
triangulation. Pressure sensors have already appeared in tablets in 2011, and
IHS iSuppli expects sensor-supported navigation to take off in smart phones and
handsets in 2012 and 2013,” said Jeremie Bouchaud, principal analyst, IHS


The Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 pressure sensor is designed to
address the increasing popularity of mobile location-based services used in
sophisticated handsets by delivering 30 cm resolution, which enables the device
to identify elevation at a granular level.


For example, a phone could detect the exact floor a user
is on within a high-rise building or a shopping mall, allowing location-based
services to more accurately reflect immediate surroundings.


Beyond the smart mobile device market, the Xtrinsic
MPL3115A2 pressure sensor has many other potential applications, including
tracking assets in business and industrial settings, providing precise
locations in emergency search and rescue missions, forecasting climate changes
in desktop weather stations and monitoring home cooling and heating systems.


In addition, the sensor is ideal for medical
applications, including respiratory equipment and health monitoring and
detection systems that can help identify the location of patients within their
homes or other environments.


For more than 30 years, Freescale has been a leader in
delivering sensing technologies that provide advanced performance and meet
stringent energy efficiency requirements. With the MPL3115A2, we are
integrating smart features and technologies to offer ease-of-use for our
customers, while also paving the way for future advancements in the mobile
device space,” said Tom Deitrich, senior vice president and general manager, Freescale’s
RF, Analog and Sensor Group.


By Team
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