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Design and Development
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Freescale Sensors Enhance Motion Sensitivity in Handheld Devices
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Nov 10, 2008

Frescale's 3-axis digital accelerometer

More Design and Development stories
The company’s advanced 3-axis digital MEMS accelerometers eliminate the need for A/D converters and are supported by extensive development tools for quick integration with mobile devices.

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced two advanced 3-axis digital accelerometers to help mobile device developers meet the demand for sleeker, more sophisticated portable electronics products. Based on Freescale’s proven micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology, the MMA7455L and MMA7456L accelerometers enable low power consumption and motion sensing within a small form factor, making them ideal for cell phones and portable media players. The MEMS devices also can be used as drop-in replacements for customer designs already in production.

The MMA745xL 3-axis accelerometers provide digital output, a key capability that eliminates the need for an extra A/D converter and enables flexible board layout options. The accelerometers also can be integrated directly to system processors for communication simplicity and flexibility. In addition, the sensors offer motion signature detection and pulse detection controlling device inputs and responses that are highly sensitive to natural human movement.

The MMA745xL accelerometers enable a variety of motion-sensing functions, such as tilt scrolling in all directions, gaming control, gesture recognition, and tap to mute. The MMA745xL accelerometers also support functions such as theft protection, freefall detection, and back-up GPS, as well as myriad other motion-based applications.

“As developers continue to add more sophisticated motion-based user interfaces to cell phones, cameras, MP3 players, and other handheld devices, the demand for cost-effective MEMS-based accelerometers such as MMA745xL sensors is expected to grow,” said Demetre Kondylis, Vice President and General Manager of Freescale’s Sensor & Actuator Solutions Division. “Portable electronics developers also are looking for platform solutions to help them accelerate the design process and speed their products to market. Freescale’s latest ZSTAR3 demonstration board makes it fast and easy for developers to incorporate MEMS sensors and wireless technology into their next-generation designs.”

The MMA745xL accelerometers offer a broad range of sensitivity that covers 2 g, 4 g, and 8 g, enabling greater design flexibility. The sensors are housed in an industry-leading ultra-thin 3 by 5 by 1.0 mm LGA package, which is ideal for space-constrained mobile applications.

Enabling Quick Design
To help wireless device manufacturers streamline the development process, Freescale has introduced the third edition of its popular wireless-sensing triple-axis reference (ZSTAR) demonstration board. The ZSTAR3 kit accommodates multiple digital and analog accelerometer boards, connected through an RF ZigBee 2.4 GHz communication interface to a single USB node connected to a PC. The accelerometer boards measure acceleration in three axes, using a pin-compatible digital or, optionally, an analog sensor.

For high-performance mobile devices, Freescale offers an i.MX31 product development kit (PDK) that supports Microsoft’s Windows CE 5.0, Windows Embedded 6.0, and Linux operating systems. The i.MX31 PDK incorporates the 3-axis MMA7455L digital accelerometer that communicates directly with the i.MX31 system processor, easing design integration.

Freescale is demonstrating the ZSTAR3 demonstration board at the Freescale Technology Forum, November 5–7, 2008, in Beijing.

Freescale also is participating in the annual MEMS Executive Congress, November 5–7, 2008, in Monterey, CA, where Freescale experts will be discussing both acceleration and pressure sensor MEMS product lines.

Development Support, Price, and Availability
The MMA7455L and MMA7456L sensors are available now. The suggested resale pricing in 10,000-piece quantities starts at $2.60 for MMA7455L and $2.70 for the MMA7456L.

The KIT3468MMA7455L and KIT3468MMA7456L development kits are available at a suggested resale price of $35 each.

ZSTAR3 reference platforms are available now. The platforms are available at a suggested resale price of $99 each.

The i.MX31 PDK is available now at a suggested resale price of $2499.

About Freescale
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking, and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, TX, and has design, research and development, manufacturing, or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2007 sales of $5.7 billion.


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