Sensor Hubs Aided by IEEE-2700-2014 Datasheets
The standard should also make it easier for sensor hub makers to achieve interoperability among different brands of the same sensor.
"The primary need for the ‘IEEE 2700-2014 Standard for Sensor Performance Parameter Definitions’ document is to provide a common methodology across the industry to define sensor parameters," Stephen Whalley, chief strategy officer at the MEMS Industry Group (MIG), told EE Times. "The chipset manufacturers and OEMs who use sensors in their platforms now have a much better and defined way of comparing sensor performance attributes across multiple sensor types and manufacturers."
Chipset manufacturers and OEMs should be able to achieve better performance, lower costs, and improved scalability, according to Ken Foust, chairman of the IEEE 2700 Working Group.
The standard was defined by the MEMS Technology Working Group and MIG (MEMS Industry Group) with the aim of developing and publishing the "MEMS Chapter" of two roadmaps: International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI)’s and the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS)’s.
"The MEMS Technology Working Group evaluates the ever-advancing performance trends in MEMS device technology, focusing on MEMS for consumer mobile applications such as smartphones and wearables," said Michael Gaitan, the chairman of iNEMI, ITRS and the MEMS Technology Working Group. In his day job Gaitan leads the Acoustics and Vibration Project in the Nanoscale Metrology Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Gaitan told EE Times:
The ultimate goal in technology roadmapping is to identify existing and emerging gaps in manufacturing MEMS. Then once those issues are articulated, a consensus must be developed among the players over the issues that they are willing to cooperate on. In our extensive discussions and from the information gleaned from our workshops we have found that the need for uniformity in MEMS device datasheets and device testing protocols to be an area of need and for cooperation. The partnership between the MEMS device manufacturers and their customers, with the support of the MEMS Industry Group has led to the publication of this new IEEE 2700-2014 Standard for Sensor Performance Parameter Definitions.
The non-profit MIG was one of the driving forces behind the new IEEE 2700-2014 standard, as a service to MEMs manufacturers, OEMs, and system integrators trying to standardize sensor performance and to simulate innovation in consumer devices, especially for Internet of Things (IoT), eHealth devices, the connected automobile, augmented reality, and small wearable devices.
"Standardization in MEMS and sensors is incredibly important to the OEMs and systems integrators that rely on this technology. It also benefits consumers, who demand faster, lower-power, more reliable features on their devices," Karen Lightman, executive director of MEMS Industry Group, told EE Times. "But it takes collaboration among influential stakeholders such as IEEE-SA, NIST, the [Mobile Industry Processor Interface] MIPI Alliance and our own standards working group to bring new standards to fruition. The IEEE 2700-14 is a prime example. It started with a workshop we held with NIST in 2010. Intel, Qualcomm, MIPI Alliance, and the IEEE SA became involved in a fast-track effort to ratify the standard that we announced."
Sensor hubs get working group hug
The new IEEE 2700-2014 standard will also assist OEMS and ISVs (independent software vendors) trying to integrate multiple sensors on 6-, 9-, and someday even 14-axis devices with on-chip hubs, including accelerometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, altimeters, humidity sensors, temperature sensors, ambient light sensors, and proximity sensors. "By providing standard parameter definitions, IEEE 2700-2014 makes it much more likely that an OEM can support multiple sensor hub implementations with lowered risk of compatibility problems, because those alternate systems are more easily compared," Mike Stanley, manager system algorithms, at Freescale Semiconductor told EE Times:
Having standardized definitions works for everyone. Sensor manufacturers benefit because they now have standard definitions for reuse during design, development and characterization of their products. Test equipment makers benefit from having a common language with the component makers. Designers benefit because they can more easily compare and contrast parts. Algorithm developers benefit because it becomes easier to understand system tradeoffs resulting from sensor selection. And OEMs get an improved supply chain. Everyone wins.
Standard terminology should eventually ease sensor-hub makers’ burden. "The main issue that this new IEEE standard targets is device datasheets," Gaitan told EE Times. System integrators use device datasheets to judge tradeoffs. "Uniform terminology to describe device performance and in the tests that are made to determine the performance parameters will result in greater interoperability of these advanced sensor technologies, and thus an easier time in making their sensor hubs compatible with different sensors from different manufactures," Gaitan told EE Times.
Foust, the chairman of the IEEE 2700 Working Group, agrees. "Sensor hub makers will have an easier time making their sensor hubs compatible with different sensors because sensor performance assessment will now be more of a simulation, due to more accurate performance specification, versus physical, which requires manufacturers of sensor hardware for all sensor vendors/types." Thus the OEM will have an easier time comparing virtues of the same kind of sensor from different manufactures, Foust told EE Times.
Reducing cost and time to market
The standard "is similarly valuable to application processor vendors such as Intel and Qualcomm," Foust told EE Times. "This isn’t the loftiest of goals, but it’s a start and it applies to a large current set of sensors and will be expanded to include an ever growing list of sensors and parameters in the future."
MIG’s Whalley agrees that the IEEE2700-2014 will make it easier for OEMs to compare MEMS devices as well as reduce costs.
"The chipset manufacturers and OEMs who use sensors in their platforms now have a much better and defined way of comparing sensor performance attributes across multiple sensor types and manufacturers. This will help reduce costs, increase time to market and provide scalability as sensors are used in existing and new markets," Whalley told EE Times. "This will allow sensors from different manufacturers to be interchanged much more-easily than if the sensors had non-uniform parameters as was the case prior to the IEEE 2700 document. "Being able to chose sensors from different manufacturers now who specify their components based on the IEEE 2700 document will speed up evaluation and deployment of the sensors and thus reduce platform integration costs."
MIG, the MEMS Technology Working Group, iNEMI, ITRS, and the MIPI Alliance also are working on more MEMS and sensor standards for the future.
— R. Colin Johnson is Advanced Technology Editor, EE Times