Bosch Sensortec’s MEMS sensors have integrated MCU, for Android smart phones

March 09, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
BHI160 and BHA250 integrate lowest power sensor hub and sensors, using less power for always-on sensor applications such as fitness tracking, indoor navigation and gesture recognition.

The devices implement the full Android Lollipop sensor stack with lowest power sensor and sensor hub combination, reducing power consumption by up to 95 % for always-on applications in mobile devices by handling sensor processing and data batching. Functionality can be extended through externally attached sensors and new software features

BHI160 and BHA250 offload sensor processing from an application processor, as well as buffering sensor data locally on the devices; system designers can ensure the main application processor is never woken up just to process sensor data. This significantly reduces system power consumption, and thus extends battery life.

The new devices integrate a 3- or 6-axis MEMS sensor with the Bosch Sensortec DSP “Fuser Core”. The BHI160 and BHA250 are specifically designed for applications in Android smart phones – implementing the full Android Lollipop sensor stack inside the devices where they provide a flexible, low power solution for motion sensing and sensor data processing. The devices can be updated with new software features to support future releases. The BHI160 is the industry’s lowest-power solution that is fully compatible with Lollipop, using less than 1.55 mA for a complete 9-axis solution including the Fuser Core, the integrated accelerometer and gyroscope and an external magnetometer.

The Fuser Core is a 32-bit microcontroller that is optimised to execute Bosch Sensortec’s sensor fusion and activity-recognition algorithms with ultra-low power consumption. It uses significantly less power than standard microcontrollers, with a saving of up to 95% compared to Cortex M0 and up to 90% compared to Cortex M4 based devices.

The BHI160 and BHA250 both offer identical functionality except that the BHI160 integrates a 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU), consisting of a 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer, while the BHA250 omits the gyroscope. This makes it a smaller and lower-cost device, and gives OEMs the flexibility to use it in eCompass applications where a gyroscope is not required.

The BHI160 is available in a 3.0