Sensors

New generation of smart sensor hubs

27th June 2018
Alex Lynn

At Sensors Expo in San Jose, California, Bosch Sensortec announced the BHI260 and BHA260, the first two members of a new generation of smart sensor hubs. These new devices are optimised for 24/7, always-on sensor processing and feature ultra-low power consumption.

With the help of its integrated powerful sensor coprocessor and MEMS sensors, the BHI260 and BHA260 can handle sophisticated sensor processing tasks and data buffering without waking up the main application processor, and can even run entirely standalone. Their low power consumption translates into extended battery lifetimes in wearables, hearables, AR/VR devices and smartphones.

Dr. Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec, stated: "Compared to existing hub solutions, our second-generation sensor hubs offer a significant increase in processing power, whilst further reducing power consumption. These new sensor hubs are the ideal solution for always-on applications such as fitness tracking, step counting, indoor navigation and gesture recognition. Further members of the family will follow to further expand the already impressive feature set. This will enable manufacturers to noticeably differentiate their products to gain a decisive competitive advantage."

With the aim to cut time-to-market and reduce design effort for OEMs, Bosch Sensortec has created an open development platform for these devices. This includes a comprehensive integrated software framework in ROM, evaluation kits and a Software Development Kit (SDK).

To facilitate more complex processing tasks such as automated activity recognition and context awareness, the BHI260 and BHA260 feature ‘Fuser2’, a 32-bit floating point CPU with 256KB on-chip SRAM. The CPU draws merely 950µA at 20MHz in the efficient 'long run' mode, and 2.8mA at 50MHz in the high performance 'turbo' mode. The processor delivers up to 3.6 CoreMark/MHz.

The new Bosch sensor hub family includes 16-bit MEMS sensors, a 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) in the BHI260 or a 3-axis accelerometer in the BHA260. They provide extensive connectivity, up to 25 GPIOs for BHI260 and up to 12 GPIOs for BHA260, and support for integration of other sensor devices, including GNSS and various localisation systems.

The smart sensor hubs are compact enough to easily fit into small products such as hearables and wearables. The BHI260 comes in a 44 pad LGA package and measures just 3.6x4.1x0.83 mm3. The BHA260 is packaged in a 22 pad LGA package and measures 2.7x2.6x0.8mm3.

The BHI260 and BHA260 will be available for high-volume applications in Q3/2018.

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