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Three-axis accelerometer is MEMS based

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STMicroelectronics (distributed by Arrow and Braemac ) is claiming its MEMS-based three-axis accelerometer device provides, for the first time, both three-axis sensing in a single package and a digital output.

Dubbed the LIS3L02D, the chip is designed primarily for handheld terminals where it can be used to implement new motion-based user interfaces based on hand movements, allowing one-handed operation without styli, thumb keyboards or other input devices.

The company says that other applications include toys, industrial equipment, robotics, automotive systems and appliances where sensing of movement, acceleration or inclination is important.

The device includes the MEMS sensor chip plus a calibrated interface chip that reacts to changes in capacitance in the sensor and translates them into SPI or I2C serial digital outputs. The company claims that compared to assemblies of single-axis sensors the device is simpler, less expensive and more precise, cutting manufacturing costs.

An earlier version of the LIS3L02D has been selected as a finalist in the components category in EDN magazine’s 2003 Innovation of the Year Award. EDN is the US-based sister title of EDN Australia.

The product operates on a 2.7 to 3.6-V supply voltage. It has an equivalent noise acceleration of better than 500 millionths of a g. During transport and service it can withstand accelerations up to 3000 g without damage, making it sufficiently shock resistant for mobile applications.

Accelerometers based on silicon-micromachined MEMS technology exploit the changes in capacitance caused by the relative movement of moving and fixed structures created in the silicon, using wafer-processing techniques.

These devices are assembled with an interface chip that generates analogue, PWM or serial digital outputs, factory-trimmed to ensure close tolerance without production line adjustment of the end product.

Further information Arrow (02) 9868 9900; Braemac (02) 9550 6600.

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