eCompass and accelerometers packaged in 4 sq. mm

July 25, 2013 // By Julien Happich
STMicroelectronics has unveiled what the company claims to be the world's smallest eCompass combining a 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis magnetometer in a single package measuring only 2 x 2 x 1mm.

Designed for advanced navigation and motion-sensitive features in products such as smartphones, the new chip is nearly 20% smaller than similar devices.

The LSM303C combined accelerometer and magnetometer is board-compatible with ST’s 12-lead pure-accelerometer devices, allowing designers to quickly enhance or upgrade the features of more basic products. It integrates a high-performance three-axis magnetic field sensor with a state-of-the-art three-axis accelerometer to provide an accurate orientation signal at its 16-bit digital output. With a full-scale magnetic-field strength range of ±16 Gauss or ±1600 microTesla (µT), the magnetic-field sensor has a wider dynamic range than alternative devices. The accelerometer has selectable full-scale range of ±2, ±4 or ±8g, and combines high resolution with output accuracy. The LSM303C also has advanced power management, thermal compensation, a wide analogue supply-voltage range, and programmable interrupt generators for movement, free-fall and magnetic-field detection helping streamline system design. The low noise level and low power consumption of the LSM303C also help simplify software design by allowing motion applications to operate continuously.

The LSM303C can be combined with a discrete miniature gyroscope from ST’s large MEMS portfolio, such as the 3 x 3 mm L3GD20H, to achieve 9-axis sensing in equipment such as high-end smartphones, gaming controllers or sports monitors. STMicroelectronics;  www.st.com