Compact geomagnetic sensor claims the industry’s widest measurement range
Global unit sales of increasingly popular smartphones are predicted to reach 1.3 billion units by 2016. Behind the spread of functionally diverse smartphones is their convenience. Examples of functions used more on smartphones than on feature phones are the Internet, GPS and movies. GPS, in particular, is used for navigation features and position logging, and in the automotive field, smartphone GPS functions are used instead of car navigation systems with technologies like MirrorLink. Smartphones are performing more and more functions in place of a wide range of equipment.
These navigation systems require geomagnetic sensors to detect location. And as applications evolve, the sensors need to be able to detect location information with greater accuracy.
To be able to perform so many functions, smartphones have to carry a large number of components. Devices are also employing larger screens and are becoming thinner. This means the components inside also need to be thinner and more compact.
Responding to these needs, ALPS Electric has developed a wide dynamic range type geomagnetic sensor to add to its HSCD Series lineup. The sensor is smaller than earlier models and has the industry’s widest measurement range. By achieving a compact size of 1.6 mm × 1.6 mm (60% smaller than earlier models) with a high-reliability LGA package and a measurement range of ±2.4 mT (two times larger than earlier models) for each of the x, y and z axes, the sensor will contribute to greater freedom in circuit board design.
The additional size reduction and widest measurement range in the industry were made possible by applying thin film process and magnetic simulation technologies acquired by ALPS over the years through magnetic head business to optimize the magnetic sensor. Low noise and high resolution are also achieved using an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) developed in-house at the Sendai R&D Center.
The sensor includes an ALPS-developed algorithm allowing calibration with a natural user action. Such considerations toward usability for the end user make it easier to operate navigation and location detection functions on mobile and compact equipment.
Mass production begins in March 2013.
For more information about the HSCD Series lineup of compact geomagnetic sensors at www.alps.com/products/e/npv_product/130313_HSCD/HSCD_E.PDF