A new quartz-based inertial measurement unit (IMU) combines
lower cost and high accuracy for industrial applications ranging from
agricultural and construction machinery to medical and military systems.
at the Sensors Expo
the new IMU is said to be about 100 times more accurate than the low-cost
silicon IMUs employed in consumer products. At the same time, it's expected to
be a fraction of the cost of conventional fiber optic-based IMUs commonly used
in aerospace and military applications.
we've created a new category of inertial measurement units," said Bob
Porooshani, general manager of timing products, sensing devices and system
solutions for Epson Electronics America, maker of the new sensing unit. "The
high accuracy, small size and extremely low power consumption are unlike
anything that's out there now."
Epson's new IMU, called the S4E5A0A0
comes in a small package and offers high accuracy. Measuring just 2.5 x 2.5 x 1
cm, the device's enclosure is said to be the smallest package size ever for an
IMU. In that tiny package, the six degree-of-freedom product incorporates a
tri-axis gyroscope and a tri-axis accelerometer, which together allow it to
measure and control motion in three dimensions. Using quartz-based MEMS
(microelectromechanical systems) technology, the unit is said to offer extremely
high accuracy: a six degree-per-hour gyro bias instability and 0.24
degree-per-root-hour of angular error.
combination of accuracy and cost put the S4E5A0A0 smack dab in the middle of
its own market territory. Its accuracy is far greater than that of silicon MEMS
sensors, but less than that of fiber optic units. At the same time, its $2,500
per-piece cost is far more than that of silicon MEMS sensors, which can cost only
a few dollars apiece, and far less than that of high-end fiber optics, which
can cost as much as $20,000 per axis.
engineers say the product fits particularly well in applications such as
agricultural machinery and heavy equipment, elevators, medical and military
systems, and in downhole drilling, where it could help determine the size and
angular direction of a hole.
expects some markets, such as the agricultural equipment market, to gravitate
toward the new technology because it could free engineers there from the task
of developing their own IMUs and writing algorithms to make them work. Each of
the S4E5A0A0 IMUs are individually calibrated to work to spec over the entire
temperature range (-40 to +70C), he said.
away the development from the customers," Porooshani said. "They can mount it
in their product and they don't need to do any of the calibration on their