Monday, January 4, 2010

STMicroelectronics Unveils MEMS Digital Compass Module

STMicroelectronics introduced a MEMS digital compass module for consumer and portable applications that integrates a 3-axis digital accelerometer with a 3-axis digital magnetic sensor.

The digital compass uses magneto-resistive technology from Honeywell and aims to accelerate the adoption of enhanced electronic compassing in portable consumer applications, including direction finding, map/display orientation, location-based services and pedestrian dead reckoning.

ST said its new module adds forward direction orientation that enables application developers to improve the use of limited phone/PDA display size for maps by putting the current user position at the bottom of the map with the rest of the display in the forward ('up ahead') direction. The device provides accurate heading information, to indicate the direction in which a person or vehicle is moving, when GPS is not available. It also supports dead-reckoning applications, including pedestrian navigation in places with no or low GPS signal, such as inside buildings and structures or in mountainous and forested terrain.

The magnetic sensing element that measures the strength and direction of the Earth's magnetic field and determines the heading relative to magnetic north is based on Honeywell's Anisotropic Magneto-Resistive (AMR) technology, which provides the same sensitivity on the z axis as it does on the x and y axes.