World's lowest power 12-DOF smart sensor reference platform

13th October 2015
Nat Bowers

Dialog Semiconductor and Bosch Sensortec are collaborating to create an extremely low power smart sensor platform that combines Bosch Sensortec sensors with Dialog's Bluetooth Smart technology. The resulting product is the world's lowest power 12 Degrees Of Freedom (DOF) smart sensor reference platform for gesture recognition in wearable computing devices and immersive gaming, including augmented reality and 3D indoor mapping and navigation.

The platform combines Dialog’s DA14580 Bluetooth Smart SoC with three low power sensors from Bosch Sensortec: the BMM150 for 3-axis geo-magnetic field measurement; the BME280 pressure, humidity and temperature sensor; and the 6-axis BMI160 Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) (a combination of a 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope in one chip). The resulting unit, built onto a 14x14mm2 PCB, consumes less than 500µA from a 3V coin cell when updating and transferring all 12x16-bits of data wirelessly to a smartphone.

The DA14580, which has already been adopted by numerous leading manufacturers of wearables, integrates a Bluetooth Smart radio with an ARM Cortex-M0 application processor and intelligent power management. It more than doubles the battery life of an application-enabled smartphone accessory, wearable device or computer peripheral in comparison with competing solutions. The DA14580 includes a variety of analogue and digital interfaces and features less than 15mW power consumption in active mode and 600nA standby current. It is half the size of rivals, measuring 2.5x2.5x0.5mm.

Bosch Sensortec’s BMI160 6-axis IMU integrates a 16-bit, 3-axis, low-g accelerometer and an ultra-low power 3-axis gyroscope within a single package. When the accelerometer and gyroscope are in full operation mode, the typical current consumption is 950µA, only half of that of its nearest rivals. The BMM150 integrates a compact 3-axis geo-magnetic field sensor using Bosch Sensortec’s high performance FlipCore technology. The BME280 integrated environmental unit combines sensors for barometric pressure, humidity and temperature measurement within a single package. The precise altitude measurement function of the BME280 is a key requirement in applications such as indoor navigation with floor tracking. Additionally, the BME280 has best-in-class response time for humidity determination of one second only, accurate ambient temperature measurement and very low current consumption.

Udo-Martin Gomez, CTO, Bosch Sensortec, commented: “The result of this close cooperation between Bosch Sensortec and Dialog is the world’s lowest power Bluetooth Smart connected sensors platform. Higher functional integration and lower power consumption are key design goals for devices at the heart of mobile consumer electronic products. From our companies’ joint experience, we see many opportunities to deliver competitive advantages for our customers by creating smaller, highly integrated and more energy efficient smart connected solutions.”

Mark Tyndall, Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Strategy, Dialog Semiconductor, added: “Our work with Bosch Sensortec is bringing together best-in-class Bluetooth, power management and sensor technologies that enable our customers to develop high-performance, innovative products with exceptionally long battery life. Combining the complementary talents of our respective design teams enables us to keep customers at the forefront of technology as the IoT market continues to evolve.”

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