mCube's low-cost 9-DoF inertial sensor for Android devices

June 02, 2014 // By Peter Clarke
Fabless chip company mCube Inc. (San Jose, California) has launched a 9-degrees-of-freedom inertial sensor for use within Android mobile devices, that includes a virtual gyroscope function.

The MC7010, virtual rotation sensor is an enhancement to mCube's standard electronic compass hardware package. The hardware in the mCube electronic compass package provides three-axis measurements of acceleration and magnetic fields. These six inputs allow rotation rates in three axes to be calculated at lower power consumption and cost than a sensor package incorporating a hardware gyro, mCube said.

The MC7010, otherwise known as iGyro is a software-based gyroscope optimised for Android smartphones and tablet computers with particular benefit for motion gaming and augmented reality applications, the company said.

mCube has developed components with MEMS motion sensors that are attached above conventional CMOS wafers and then hermetically sealed to provide sensor platforms that combines single-component motion sensors with tuned software algorithms. The result, the company claims, is to cut the power, cost and board space by 50% compared to hardware-based discrete solutions.

The device is a drop-in replacement for other 9-DoF inertial sensors at the Android Application Programming Interface (API) level, providing three-axis rotation rates.

Joe Chen, general manager of MediaTek's home entertainment business unit, said he sees "tremendous potential opportunity for mCube's iGyro solution."