Inc. has unveiled a new sensing platform that incorporates intelligence within
the sensor, thus enabling it to make complex calculations and decisions in the
context of its environment.
"contextual sensing," the new concept is embodied in Freescale's Xtrinsic
sensing portfolio. The platform is based on the integration of an
accelerometer, processing core, memory and multiple embedded functions. Freescale
engineers foresee the new portfolio devices being used in mobile phones, game
controllers, laptop computers, sports watches, remote controls, personal
navigation systems and medical instruments, along with many other applications.
idea is for the sensor to intelligently process sensed data, off-loading the
master controller," writes Freescale systems engineer Michael Stanley in a blog
on the subject. "Accelerometers should not just provide acceleration values,
they should be able to count your footsteps when you walk from one locale to
another - at the same time they are informing the applications processor in
your phone that it's time to switch the display from landscape to portrait
At the Freescale
Technology Forum held in Orlando last week, Freescale rolled out the first
product in the platform. Known as the Xtrinsic Motion Sensing Platform MMA9550L,
the product manages multiple sensor inputs and makes intelligent, system-level
decisions within the application. It combines a three-axis accelerometer with
programmable core and on-chip memory, thus enabling advanced motion sensing
capabilities for mobile phones and consumer applications.
also rolled out software for the platform. The Xtrinsic Touch Sensing Software
Suite 2.0 is targeted at 32-bit touch-sensing applications, the company said.
are asking for slicker designs and new user-interfaces," said Mauricio Gomez,
new technologies market development manager in Freescale's Microcontroller
Group. "With this, they are able to move from traditional interfaces to
touch-sensing interfaces, with just some add-on software."
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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