Some people regard the Sensors Expo and Conference, which recently took place in Rosemont, Ill., as one of the industry's leading events focusing on sensors and integrated sensor systems. The show attracts scientists, engineers, students, and members of the news media from around the globe. Visitors can always expect prototypes and sensors that may find their way into consumer products in the near future.
Many companies attended this year's event, including MEMSIC, which focuses on accelerometers, tilt sensors, inertial systems, magnetic sensors, flow sensors, and wireless sensor networks. The product it was introducing to the world is an ultra-efficient two-axis magnetic sensor.
One of the most notable features of this sensor is its low power consumption. MEMSIC says the device, capable of operating from only 1.8V, leads the industry in magnetic sensor performance. Operating currents range from 20 uAmps to 50 uAmps, depending on the accuracy it is operating with. The power-down mode operates at a mere 20 nAmps. In addition, the sensor features MEMSIC's patented proprietary anisotropic magnetic resistive technology. This allows the sensor to operate over the range of ±6 Gauss scale.
John Newton, MEMSIC vice president of marketing, said in a press release:
The introduction of our Two-Axis Magnetic Sensor solidifies MEMSIC's position as the industry's magnetic sensor leader. It offers the best price/performance solution for a production two-axis magnetic sensor in the market today. The small 2.0 mm. x 2.0 mm. x 1.0 mm. BGA package has the same footprint and pin-out of the award-winning three-axis magnetic sensor we introduced last year, ensuring that our existing magnetic sensor customers can rely on us to provide long-term support of their designs, thus eliminating their need to create expensive and time-consuming new PCB layouts. We expect this device to win major acceptance in the design community because of its ease in integrating into designs, its small-sized LGA packaging and low power consumption -- all crucial requirements in many of today's high-volume applications.
The potential applications for this new sensor include portable electronics or possibly electronic compassing. Though it will probably find a home in compact portable electronics, magnetic sensors also play a huge part in measuring the speed or position of objects. For example, Hall Effect sensors are used in some automobiles to track and quantify the rotation of the camshaft and crankshaft. This information is used to calculate the vehicle's RPM and speed and to tell the system the proper timing for firing the fuel injectors.
You can certainly look for this technology from Citizen, the watch manufacturer. But the most valuable part of MEMSIC's product is its energy efficiency. With such an emphasis on going green these days, nothing is more important in a new system's products than energy efficiency.