Bosch Sensortec recently announced the BHI160 and BHA250, two sensor devices with integrated sensor hub. Today’s smart phones rely on always-on sensors for applications such as fitness tracking, step counting, indoor navigation and gesture recognition. By offloading sensor processing to the BHI160 or BHA250, as well as buffering sensor data locally on the devices, system designers can ensure the main application processor is never woken up just to process sensor data. This significantly reduces system power consumption, and thus extends battery life – a major competitive advantage for phone manufacturers.

The new devices integrate a best-in-class 3- or 6-axis MEMS sensor with the new Bosch Sensortec DSP “Fuser Core”. The BHI160 and BHA250 are specifically designed for applications in Android smart phones – implementing the full Android Lollipop sensor stack inside the devices where they provide a flexible, low power solution for motion sensing and sensor data processing.

The new devices implement the full Android Lollipop sensor stack and can be updated with new software features to support future releases. The BHI160 is the industry’s lowest-power solution that is fully compatible with Lollipop, using less than 1.55 mA for a complete 9-axis solution including the Fuser Core, the integrated accelerometer and gyroscope and an external magnetometer.

“In modern smart phones, sensors are a key component, and are often switched on all or most of the time for motion-sensitive applications,” says Dr. Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec. “By handling all sensor data processing, these new devices can make a substantial difference to overall battery life.”

The sensor hub devices are a full turnkey solution, reducing integration work and hence cutting time-to-market for OEMs.

Power-efficient core

The Fuser Core is a 32-bit microcontroller that is optimized to execute Bosch Sensortec’s sensor fusion and activity-recognition algorithms with ultra-low power consumption. It uses significantly less power than standard microcontrollers, with a saving of up to 95 percent compared to Cortex M0 and up to 90 percent compared to Cortex M4 based devices.

The BHI160 and BHA250 both offer identical functionality except that the BHI160 integrates a 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU), consisting of a 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer, while the BHA250 omits the gyroscope. This makes it a smaller and lower-cost device, and gives OEMs the flexibility to use it in eCompass applications where a gyroscope is not required.

Compact package

The BHI160 is available in a 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.95 mm³ LGA package, while the BHA250 is provided in a 2.2 x 2.2 x 0.95 mm³ LGA package. These packages are the same size as competitive sensor-only devices without an integrated DSP. Integrating the sensor hub reduces the bill of material, and saves on valuable PCB space compared to solutions based on standard microcontrollers.

Both new devices are fully pin- and footprint-compatible with Bosch’s sensor-only variants from Bosch Sensortec, giving OEMs the flexibility to support multiple different smart phone devices on one platform, and to make decisions later in the design cycle.

Availability

Samples are scheduled to be available to selected customers in the second quarter of 2015.

About Bosch Sensortec

Bosch Sensortec GmbH is a fully owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, dedicated to the consumer electronics world offering a complete portfolio of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and solutions that enable mobile devices to feel and sense the world around them. Bosch Sensortec develops and markets a wide portfolio of MEMS sensors and solutions for smart phones, tablets, wearable devices and IoT (Internet of Things) applications.

The product portfolio includes 3-axis acceleration, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensors, integrated 6- and 9-axis as well as environmental sensors and a comprehensive software portfolio. Since its foundation in 2005 Bosch Sensortec emerged as the technology leader in the addressed markets. The Bosch Group has been the global market leader for MEMS sensors since 1998 and has to date sold more than 5 billion MEMS sensors.

For more information, go to  http://www.bosch-sensortec.com