Microchip goes modular for motion measurement

February 27, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Microchip Technology’s 17 x 17 mm, MM7150 Motion Module combines a Microchip motion co-processor IC with MEMS sensors by Bosch. The module integrates a 6-axis digital compass, 3-axis gyroscope and a magnetometer.

The Microchip silicon comprises the SSC7150 motion co-processor, which comes pre-programmed with the required sensor fusion algorithms. With an I²C connection to most MCUs/MPUs, embedded/IoT applications can make use of the module’s advanced motion and position information, which is available as “raw” or processed data outputs.

The software filters, compensates and combines raw sensor data to provide accurate position and orientation information. The small form factor module is self-calibrating during operation utilising data from the pre-populated sensors: the Bosch BMC150 6-axis digital compass; and the BMG160 3-axis gyroscope. The MM7150 motion module is single-sided to be readily soldered down during the manufacturing process; its large I/O pads are on the module edges and do not require fine-geometry reflow.

The motivation for this development arose from the prevalence of motion-oriented applications that have arisen since motion sensing became prevalent in smartphones; and from Microsoft’s specification of a standard format for motion data to be imported into Windows. Not all application developers who might want to include motion/position may have access to the resources to develop the algorithmic aspects, Microchip believes: hence the module concept.

You can develop applications, or gain experience of how the sensor module react, using a standard Microchip Explorer 16 development board, connecting the sensor via a long flexible ribbon cable branded as the MM7150 PICtail Plus Daughter Board.

Microchip can sell the SSC7150 IC alone for specific integration projects, but notes that with the module, all the mapping to correct for position and orientation variations is done for you. The MM7150 matches embedded applications such as portable devices and robotics; industrial applications such as commercial trucks, industrial automation, patient tracking and smart farming; and consumer electronics such as the Internet of Things (IoT), remote controls, gaming devices, toys and wearable devices.

The MM7150 is supported by the MM7150 PICtail Plus Daughter Board (AC243007) priced at $50.00, which plugs directly into Microchip’s Explorer 16 Development Board (DM240001) priced