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IMU sensor boosts AI, adds I3C interface

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By Nick Flaherty


STMicroelectronics has introduced a 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensor with a boost to its AI processing and a higher speed I3C interface. 

The LSM6DSV16X is ST’s flagship sensor for edge processing, embedding ST’s MEMS technology, Sensor Fusion Low Power (SFLP), Artificial Intelligence (AI) accelerator and adaptive-self-configuration (ASC).

It is aimed at applications such as 3D phone mapping, context awareness in laptops and tablets, reliable and precise gesture recognition for XR headsets, as well as always-on activity tracking.

All the processing is done in the MEMS sensor itself, which has a triple sensing core to meet the differing needs of user-interface controls and optical/electronic image stabilization (OIS/EIS).

The IC integrates an enhanced finite state machine (FSM), to detect fast events and custom gestures. In addition, the latest updates to ST’s machine-learning core (MLC) improve the performance of inference algorithms such as human activity recognition.

ST has published ready-to-use MLC and FSM algorithms on GitHub to help product designers cut time to market when implementing these advanced capabilities in new products. The IMU also makes the AI features, extracted by MLC, available for external processing.

With ASC, the sensor can optimize its own settings such as measurement range and operating frequency, independently and on the fly, without host intervention. Teamed with ST’s Sensor Fusion Low Power (SFLP) technology, it enables the IMU to host fast and powerful edge processing with minimal energy demand. SFLP allows gesture recognition or continuous tracking while drawing as little as 15µA.

The LSM6DSV16X also integrates a charge-variation sensing channel (Qvar) for the first time in an IMU. The Qvar channel monitors changes in electrostatic charge, either through electrodes in contact with the body in a smartwatch or fitness band or by non-contact sensing. Combined with the MEMS sensor, this enables user-interface controls such as touch, long press and swipe.

The IMU uses a 3-axis low noise accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope for accurate sensing in an industry-standard size and with the new I3C interface. Both structures benefit from high stability after reflow soldering, which saves equipment manufacturers recalibrating the IMU on the production line and guarantees sensing performance.

The LSM6DSV16X is in production now in a 2.5mm x 3.0mm x 0.83mm 14-lead LGA package, priced from $2.98 for orders of 1000 pieces. ST will continue to expand the lineup with more sensors with differing levels of performance and capability in the coming months.

Ready-to-use MLC and FSM algorithms are available on GitHub at

github.com/STMicroelectronics/STMems_Machine_Learning_Core/tree/master/application_examples/lsm6dsv16x

github.com/STMicroelectronics/STMems_Finite_State_Machine/tree/master/application_examples/lsm6dsv16x

www.st.com/lsm6dsv16x


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