Tiny gyroscope targets advanced motion-sensing applications

August 10, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
ST has launched its smallest MEMS gyroscope, opening up new motion-sensing applications.

The L3GD20H 3-axis sensor measures only 3 x 3mm and 1mm high, occupying little over half the volume of its predecessor, yet offering better resolution, higher accuracy, superior stability and faster response time. The new device enables smaller sensing mechanisms in smart consumer electronics, including mobile phones and tablets, game consoles, digital cameras and industrial tools.
The smaller dimensions of this gyroscope also allow experimental projects such as wearable electronics to move closer towards true practicality. One such application is the prototype smart suit that ST used to demonstrate inertial body-motion reconstruction early in 2012, which can help enhance various applications such as augmented reality, sports training aids, or medical therapy.
“Miniaturized, low-power sensors such as our new L3GD20H enable smart electronics to be used in ever-smaller and slimmer handheld devices, as well as in items such as clothes or sports equipment, creating opportunities for exciting new products and services,” said Roberto De Nuccio, Business Development Manager for ST’s Motion MEMS Division. “Both high-volume applications in smart phones and tablets and emerging applications such as prosthetics, medical instruments, goods tracking and power tools will benefit from this latest generation of tiny MEMS devices.”
In February 2012, IHS iSuppli predicted the total market for MEMS devices enabling such applications will more than double to $4.25 billion by 2015. In particular, 3-axis gyroscopes - such as the L3GD20H - will represent over $900 million of this market.
In addition to enabling advanced product miniaturization, ST’s L3GD20H also helps conserve battery power by drawing 25% lower current than the previous generation of devices. The L3GD20H is also ready in only one-fifth of the time after turn on, enabling the end-user application to deliver a better overall experience. Finally, the gyroscope’s output has 60% lower noise, which can help to simplify hardware and software design and speed up communication with the host system leading to faster application performance.
The new gyroscope retains a similar