A New 6 Axis Motion Sensor

Except for professional photographers using tripods, most people now use the camera within their smartphones to capture images of their surroundings. More often, unless your hands are exceptionally steady, the captured image is somewhat blurred. The act of holding the smartphone, aiming it properly to frame the image and touching the capture icon induces tremors and shakes that prevent the camera from capturing a steady picture.

To counter the lack of stabilization when capturing images on a hand-held gadget, manufacturers are incorporating mobiles with motion-sensors. These detect the tiniest of hand movements and cancel out the effects by making suitable corrections to the camera. Most motion-sensor devices are MEMS or Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems based solid-state devices.

A global semiconductor leader, STMicroelectronics is a manufacturer and supplier of MEMS devices for consumer and mobile applications. ST is now offering the most advanced six-axis motion-sensing MEMS device that fully supports image stabilization for smartphones, tablets and Digital Still Cameras.

The iNEMOTH is the new range of inertial motion sensors from ST and includes the 6-axis motion-sensing IC, the LSM5D53H, which combines a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer. LSM5D53H is a System-in-Package solution offering its users the smallest package size with an ultra-low-power processing circuit that makes it the industry’s lowest power consuming IC.

LSM5D53H uses two techniques for minimizing image blurring that usually happens because of camera motion while capturing a snapshot. The first technique is the EIS or Electronic Image Stabilization, while the other is the OIS or Optical Image Stabilization. Although these techniques were initially meant for use on professional cameras, they are increasingly being deployed in tablets and smartphones. They are helpful in reducing image blurring that is likely to occur when the user is taking a snapshot with an outstretched arm.

ST has the necessary expertise and designs high-end gyroscopes for OIS. The company also plays a pioneering role in providing dual-core gyroscopes. These are capable of handling user motion and gesture recognition simultaneously while providing camera image stabilization. The LSM5D53H builds on this expertise.

Within the LSM5D53H is a tiny, ultra-low-power MEMS module. The IC allows equipment manufacturers to minimize the size, cost, system complexity and extending battery life for mobile devices with imaging applications. While systems employing two single-function gyroscopes consume 5mA, LSM5D53H does the same work while consuming less than 1mA and 1.1mA in its high-performance mode.

Offering an optimal motion experience and always-on low-power features for the consumer, the LSM5D53H system-in-package offers a 3D digital accelerometer and a 3D digital gyroscope performing up to 1.6 KHz ODR. Manufacturers can connect the device to the camera module via a dedicated auxiliary SP interface, while the primary interface is available via I2C or SPI.

ST manufactures the various sensing elements using their specialized micro-machining processes. They develop the IC interfaces using CMOS technology as this allows them to design a dedicated circuitry. The ST manufacturing process then trims the circuitry to match the characteristics of the sensing element in the best possible manner. The acceleration range of the LSM5D53H is +/- 16 g, while it has an angular rate ranging +/- 2000 dps.