Freescale debuts accelerometers to extend battery life in consumer devices

(September 14, 2010) — Freescale Semiconductor today unveiled an advanced 3-axis accelerometer family designed to deliver enhanced battery life for smart mobile devices without compromising performance. Utilizing the MMA845xQ family, system designers can integrate standard functions like orientation detection as well as more advanced real time applications like pedometers and games. In addition, the new Freescale accelerometers dramatically extend the battery life of smart mobile devices such as smartphones, personal navigation devices, MP3 players, eReaders and netbooks.

The global MEMS market is expected to expand by 11% in 2010, propelled by strong sales in mobile handsets, gaming controllers and digital cameras, according to iSuppli Corp. The majority of these devices use motion sensing technology for features such as image stability, tap to control, anti-theft and orientation detection. As market demand continues to grow, advances in accuracy and battery life are necessary to further development of next generation devices.

In a podcast interview, Freescale’s Systems and Applications Engineer, Bryce Osoinach, describes how the company optimized the overall system power consumption for extended battery life in consumer electronics (CE). Podcast: Download or Play Now

As part of Freescale’s Xtrinsic sensing solutions line, the MMA845xQ accelerometer family offers a new level of sensor intelligence through embedded algorithms and computation in three advanced accelerometers. Together with the host processor, the embedded accelerometers help make decisions on contextual environmental sensing and enable the ability to record highly precise movement for a wide-range of consumer devices from smartphones to tablets to eReaders to remote controls.

Battery applications benefit from the accelerometer’s low current consumption at 1.7 microamps in standby mode and as low as 6 microamps in active mode and contain four power modes from high resolution to low power, offering best in class savings in supply current and extremely high resolution for very small motion detection.

The MMA845xQ accelerometers include a wide range of real-time motion detection features such as orientation, directional shake and tap and jolt and freefall. The devices are highly versatile to support low-end applications for basic gestures such as lasso and flick (10-bit), mid-range applications for more complex gestures such as position and 3-D gesture detection (10-or 12-bit), and high-end applications such as dead reckoning (14-bit).

In addition to the already released MMA8450Q, Freescale today introduced the 14-bit MMA8451Q, the 12-bit MMA8452Q and the 10-bit MMA8453Q. All of the devices within the MMA845xQ family are pin-for-pin compatible with register map alignment between the accelerometers to maximize hardware and software re-use between 10-, 12- and 14-bit designs requiring zero development cost to migrate thereby reducing time to market. To help support various applications, the MMA845xQ accelerometers offer increased bandwidth with user configurable sample rates ranging from 1.5 to 800 Hz and operate across a supply voltage of 1.7V to 3.6V.

The MMA8451Q accelerometer incorporates an on-chip FIFO (first-in/first-out) memory buffer that stores up to 32 sample sets of X, Y, and Z data. This improves overall system power savings and response time by offloading functions from the host processor. Utilizing the FIFO buffer along with the other embedded functions allows the host processor to analyze only the required data while at the same time, protecting from the possibility of data loss when multiplexing other sensors on the same IIC bus. The FIFO combined with the host processor contributes to a current consumption savings that can range from 78 percent up to 96 percent or higher depending on conditions of the microcontroller and output data rates chosen.

Accelerometer features:

  • 14-, 12- and 10-bit digital output
  • Low noise: less than 1 LSB RMS
  • Low power mode: 6 micro amps
  • Low voltage supply: 1.7 to 3.6 V
  • Output data rate: 1.5 to 800 Hz
  • Programmable 2 interrupt pins for 7 interrupt sources
  • Embedded motion detection features:
    Freefall or motion detection: 1 channel
    Pulse detection: 1 channel
    Jolt detection: 1 channel
  • Orientation (portrait/landscape) detection with hysteresis compensation
  • Automatic output data rate change for auto-wake/sleep
  • Self test
  • Embedded FIFO buffer on the MMA8451Q 14-bit accelerometer :
    32 sample FIFO for 14-bit or 8-bit data
    High pass filtered data available per sample and through the FIFO
  • Robust design, ability to survive shocks up to 10,000 g
  • Low-profile 3 x 3 x 1.0 mm QFN package

Freescale provides pressure, inertial and touch sensors. The company also recently announced a partnership with Nepes for RCP. For more information, visit

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