Analog 3-axis, high-g MEMS accelerometer accurately measures concussive forces in high-impact events

May 24, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Analog Devices, Inc. has introduced the industry’s first commercially available analog, 3-axis, high-g MEMS accelerometer. The ADXL377 measures acceleration of high-impact events resulting from shock and vibration, within the full-scale range of ±200 g with no signal saturation.

The measurement range, combined with an analog output that continuously captures impact data, make the ADXL377 an ideal sensor for contact sports where the detection of concussive forces can reveal indictors of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). With a bandwidth of 1600 Hz, the ADXL377 is also ideal for use in industrial equipment where shock levels must be closely monitored. ADI’s new 3-axis accelerometer eliminates the need for alignment and the placement of orthogonal sensors, which significantly simplifies design. The board space requirement is reduced by up to five times that of typical solutions requiring multiple, single-axis accelerometers.

 Among other applications, the ADXL377 3-axis, high-g MEMS accelerometer is being designed into the IZOD 2012 INDYCAR Series driver impact safety system. INDYCAR worked in close collaboration with Analog Devices at the ADXL377 product definition phase. The resulting device allowed INDYCAR to upgrade the sensors located in their communications earpieces, which are used to measure driver impacts triggered by collisions during practice, time trials and during races, according to Jeff Horton, director of engineering for INDYCAR.

“The new Analog Devices ADXL377 3-axis accelerometer is going to be a great addition to our ear sensor program,” said Horton. “Not only will the smaller size greatly reduce the manufacturing time needed to place the components into the custom ear molds that we make for each of the drivers, it will allow us to place the accelerometer closer to the ear canal opening which should help with the coupling of the accelerometer to the driver’s head for a more accurate reading.  In the past we had to use three separate ICs in each ear to obtain the same data.”

“With TBI now a serious medical concern in many facets of life – from athletes and workers to military personnel – ADI is helping customers design smaller, more accurate and simpler impact systems,” said Mark Martin, vice president and general manager, MEMS/Sensors group, Analog Devices. “Because so