STMicroelectronics Peps Up Booming Social-Fitness Scene with Smart Motion Sensors for Better Accuracy, Longer Battery Life, and Faster Time to Market
- ST smart MEMS sensors with on-board pedometer extend battery life of devices hosting always-on activity-tracking apps
- Already designed into several smartphones to enable the social fitness feature WeRun inside WeChat messaging app
- Low-power design combines with superior performance and faster and easier calibration by end user
STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications and the leading supplier of MEMS sensors for consumer products, is helping social-fitness fans stay motivated with innovative, smart motion sensors that enable always-on tracking applications to run for longer and record progress more accurately.
These sensors, the LIS2DS12 3-axis “pico” accelerometer, LSM6DSL/M 6-axis inertial module, and the new LSM303AH eCompass help track movement continuously with minimal impact on device battery life by performing various motion-related calculations efficiently on-chip instead of using the main system processor. Pre-embedded algorithms that include high-precision pedometer, step detection, step counting, and significant motion and tilt detection effectively reduce engineering effort and accelerate time to market for imaginative new apps on devices such as fitness bands, medical monitors, personal navigation and Internet of Things (IoT) nodes, in addition to smartphones and wearable devices.
ST’s smart motion sensors are already integrated in several smartphones to enable WeRun, a new feature of the WeChat messaging app used by more than 90% of people in China’s largest cities. “WeRun turns physical activity into a social pursuit, helping smartphone and wearable device users stay healthy,” commented Andrea Onetti, Group Vice President and General Manager, MEMS Sensors Division, STMicroelectronics. “ST’s smart motion sensors enable WeRun to track movements continuously, never missing a step, while preserving battery energy to power the device for longer. This enhances usability and helps attract more subscribers.”
ST’s latest sensor device with the on-board pedometer suiting the WeRun app, the LSM303AH eCompass combines an accelerometer with a magnetic sensor that more than doubles the heading accuracy of other eCompass or pure magnetometer solutions tested at the same geographical latitudes. Combined with the continuous accurate step monitoring, this ensures extremely precise location awareness by dead reckoning where there is no GPS signal, such as in offices, car parks, or shopping malls. In addition, ST has engineered advanced software that simplifies user calibration of the temperature drift and the magnetic sensor.
ST’s smart sensors also implement selectable power modes and resolution that help optimize energy efficiency and performance. Additional features that simplify system design include an embedded FIFO, built-in self-test, integrated temperature sensor, and programmable interrupts for conditions such as freefall.
The LIS2DS12, LSM6DSL/M, and LSM303AH smart sensors are in production now. The LSM303AH in a 2mm x 2mm x 1mm 12-lead LGA package is priced from $1.63 for orders of 1,000 devices. Please contact your local ST sales office for more details.
ST has a long and successful track record of extensive, sustained investments in MEMS technology. The Company has over 900 MEMS-related patents and patent applications worldwide and is the leading supplier of MEMS sensors for consumer applications. These include accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, microphones, pressure sensors, multi-sensor devices, and the iNEMO™ family of inertial modules with up to 9 Degrees of Freedom (3-axis accelerometer + 3-axis magnetometer + 3-axis gyroscope).
ST is a global semiconductor leader delivering intelligent and energy-efficient products and solutions that power the electronics at the heart of everyday life. ST’s products are found everywhere today, and together with our customers, we are enabling smarter driving and smarter factories, cities and homes, along with the next generation of mobile and Internet of Things devices.
By getting more from technology to get more from life, ST stands for life.augmented.
In 2015, the Company’s net revenues were $6.90 billion, serving more than 100,000 customers worldwide. Further information can be found at www.st.com.
 Data from IHS Markit, reported August 2016: https://epsnews.com/2016/08/03/top-10-mems-sensor-suppliers-consumermobile-products/
 MEMS: Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems
 WeChat is owned by Tencent, and is used by approximately 93% of inhabitants in Tier 1 cities in China. Its Monthly Active Users (MAU) surpassed 700 million in March 2016, according to data from Quest Mobile, and popularity is growing in other markets. Currently more than 70 million registered users are outside China.