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Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Technological trends: a greater range of measurable variables and increased intelligence
- After cars and smart phones, now the internet of things is driving market growth
- Every second smart phone worldwide uses Bosch sensors
Bosch provides sensors for a range of uses in the automotive and consumer electronics industries. For instance, MEMS sensors measure pressure, acceleration, rotary motion, mass flow, and the earth's magnetic field, and act as the sensory organs for cars or smart phones. Bosch has been producing these sensors for vehicles since 1995. A yaw-rate sensor that records the rotary moments around its vertical axis is at the heart of ESP, for example, and today each modern vehicle is home to up to 50 MEMS sensors. Thanks to Bosch Sensortec acceleration sensors, a smart phone or tablet knows how it is being held, and adjusts the image accordingly. Tiny MEMS microphones made by Akustica, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group, detect sounds and speech. Now every second smart phone worldwide uses Bosch sensors.
Bosch has been at the forefront of MEMS technology since it first emerged, and is the world's leading supplier in this extremely dynamic market, as the experts at IHS Technology and Yole Développement have confirmed. Since the start of production in 1995, Bosch has manufactured well in excess of four billion MEMS sensors. In 2013, around one billion sensors emerged from its state-of-the-art wafer fab in Reutlingen – or three million each day. “Bosch is the only supplier that manufactures sensor types for so many different applications itself. Overall, Bosch holds more than 1,000 patents and patent applications related to MEMS technology to ensure we stay on top of our innovative capacity,” says Klaus Meder, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division.
Technological trends: smarter and capable of measuring more
MEMS sensors can measure an ever greater range of variables. In early 2014, Bosch Sensortec unveiled a world exclusive in sensor technology – the BME280 integrated unit, which combines sensors for pressure, humidity, and temperature in a single housing. The new unit was specially developed for applications related to environmental monitoring, indoor navigation, smart homes, personalized weather stations, and sports and fitness. Within a second, it can determine humidity – the fastest response time in the industry. It also offers remarkably precise measurement of ambient temperature and impressively low energy consumption. In addition, Bosch is making its sensors increasingly smart. Production is about to begin on the first sensor for measuring physical variables, such as acceleration, rotary motion, and the earth's magnetic field, and it will also include a micro-controller for evaluating readings.
Key technology for the internet of things
The introduction of MEMS sensors in automotive electronics in the 1980s and 1990s marked the first wave of their surging popularity. The second major wave has been their widespread use in smart phones since the beginning of the 21st century – and the internet of things now heralds the third wave. Sensors, signal processing, batteries, and transmitters have become so small, energy efficient, and economical – even as all-in-one units – that they can be used in their billions. At the same time, radio networks are available almost everywhere. This makes MEMS the key technology for connecting things over the internet. MEMS must be equipped with a radio chip and a battery, and they must possess software intelligence, because only relevant data should be transmitted to the internet, not raw data. This local data processing calls for the special kind of systems expertise that Bosch brings to the table. In 2013, Bosch launched a door sensor that reports suspicious movements to the home owner's smart phone. In the future, windows will control the heating or alarm system via unobtrusive sensors, and bracelets with embedded sensors will call for help if their wearer suffers a fall. Web-enabled sensor technology will be in everything that is “smart,” not just in smart phones.
Internet of things offers great business potential
A key aspect of Bosch's future sales growth is web-enabled products and web-based services. The company considers itself well-positioned for such growth thanks to its hardware know-how and broad technological expertise. To unlock this business area, Bosch founded Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions GmbH at the end of 2013. It supplies compact electronic products and software expertise designed to make devices intelligent and web-enabled across a broad range of applications. The focus is on the development of connected sensors and actuators. Actuators convert electrical signals from sensors and control units into a physical action, such as automatically switching a light on and off or opening and closing a valve. Initially, business activities are concentrating on sensor-based applications for intelligently networked homes, or “smart homes,” as well as activities in the fields of traffic, transportation, and logistics – because in the future, consignments of critical goods will be able to transmit data on any unusual status changes directly to logistics centers.
Technical information about MEMS sensors
MEMS sensors contain the finest silicon structures. As the casing moves, these structures shift a fraction of a thousandth of a millimeter – and their electrical properties change in the process. These properties can be measured and converted into a data stream. The dimensions are incredibly small; while a human hair has a diameter of 70 thousandths of a millimeter (70 micrometers), some components measure only four micrometers – that is 17 times smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. Since the micromechanical sensor produces only weak electrical signals, the developers built in another electronic component – sometimes in the casing beside the sensor, sometimes even directly on the same chip. This second component processes, amplifies, and converts the weak signal into digital data. In this way, MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) sensors can supply control units directly with readings.
More information is available online:
Sensors for increased safety in vehicles: new generation of Bosch inertial sensors
Simplifying development of airbag systems: new Bosch acceleration sensors
Bosch is top MEMS maker in 2013
Bosch sensors for automobile electronics
Bosch sensors for consumer electronics
Bosch sets up company for internet of things and services
Sensors – how technology maps the world around it
MEMS: the stars of the sensor world
Car-to-X: the future is about connectivity
Greater safety with peripheral sensors
Internet-enabled MEMS sensors
Gyroscope for ESP: how it works
Pressure sensor: how it works
Acceleration sensor: how it works
MEMS sensor manufacturing
Bosch MEMS enabling the Internet of Things and Services
Bosch Sensortec GmbH is a fully owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, dedicated to the consumer electronics world offering a complete portfolio of micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) sensors and solutions that enable mobile devices to feel and sense the world around them. Bosch Sensortec develops and markets a wide portfolio of MEMS sensors and solutions for smart phones, tablets, wearable devices and IoTS (Internet of Things & Services) applications.
- June 25, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 12
New Inertial Measurement Unit BMI160 Bosch Sensortec launches first IMU with sub 1mA current consumption High accuracy, low noise in industry’s lowest current consumption and footprint
- Ultra-low power, high precision 6-axis IMU in industry leading footprint
- Enables always-on applications for wearable devices
- Supports precise 9-axis sensor data fusion computation
Applications such as immersive gaming, augmented reality and the emerging 3D indoor scanning applications must deliver precise, real-time user experiences. The BMI160 achieves this by synchronizing the inertial accelerometer and gyroscope sensor data precisely with external geomagnetic sensor data, and is ideally suited for applications requiring exact, low latency low power 9-axis sensor data fusion.
“Current battery limitations in devices such as smart watches, augmented reality glasses and wearable devices are restricting the adoption of more sophisticated applications which need to be continuously powered,” says Jeanne Forget, Marketing Director of Bosch Sensortec. “With its industry leading current consumption, the BMI160 makes a significant contribution to overcoming this hurdle, and will help usher in a new era of always-on applications.”
Precise sensor data fusion
Additional sensors from the Bosch Sensortec family, such as geomagnetic (BMM series) or pressure sensors (BMP series), can be connected as slaves via a secondary I2C interface. In this configuration, the BMI160 controls data acquisition of the external sensor with all sensor data being stored in the built-in FIFO. With the secondary interface configured as high speed SPI interface and connected to camera module, BMI160 also supports optical image stabilization (OIS).
Smart power management and built-in FIFO
The built-in power management unit (PMU) can be configured to further lower power consumption by automatically sending the gyroscope temporarily into fast start-up mode, then wake-up using the any-motion interrupt of the accelerometer. When connected to a geomagnetic sensor, the BMI160 can trigger a read-out of the magnetometer sensor data without host processor intervention. Longer host controller sleep cycles reduce power consumption at the system level. The integrated FIFO supports low power applications and prevents data loss in non-real-time systems. The FIFO architecture allows dynamic reallocation of FIFO space for accelerometer, gyroscope and external sensors respectively.
The BMI160 features an on-chip interrupt engine enabling low-power motion-based gesture recognition and context awareness. Interrupts issued in a power efficient manner include: any- or no-motion detection, tap or double tap sensing, orientation detection, free-fall or shock events.
Android 4.4 (KitKat) and Windows 8.1 compliance
The BMI160 fulfils the requirements of most standard operating systems and is fully Android 4.4 (KitKat) and Windows 8.1 compliant. Significant motion and step detector interrupts consume less than 200µA each.
The BMI160 is intended for high-volume consumer electronics manufacturers. Samples of the BMI160 are available now to key development customers.
Tina Horstmann: +49 7121 35-35924
- June 24, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 2
Annual press conference 2014 Bosch starts new year with strong sales growth in every business sector Bosch uses its broad technological and industrial expertise in the connected world
- 2013: without extraordinary effects, margin of 6 percent
- Sales growth of roughly 7 percent in the first three months of the year
- Growth between 3 and 5 percent expected for 2014
- Market leader in micromechanical sensor technology, a gateway technology
- Opening up new and internet-based market segments
- One billion euros in sales with driver assistance systems by 2016
- Sales to double in Asia Pacific and the Americas by 2020
*Note: Due to a change in accounting policies, the 2013 figures can only be compared to a limited extent with the previously published figures for 2012. The decision to forego the application of proportionate consolidation affects mainly BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH with a consolidated sales volume of some 7.3 billion euros.
Stuttgart – The Bosch Group has started the new year with a good increase in sales. In the first quarter, sales grew by roughly 7 percent. After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, the increase was roughly 10 percent. For the current fiscal year, the global provider of technology and services expects its sales to grow 3 to 5 percent. “We continue to move forward with our traditional business and are opening up new fields of business. In so doing, we are benefiting from our broad technological and industrial expertise,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management, at the company's annual press conference. The Bosch Automotive Technology business sector continued its strong business performance of the previous year, growing impressively in the first quarter of 2014. “We have also seen clear growth in our other business sectors. With regard to the regions, business in Asia Pacific is developing especially well,” said Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, the Bosch CFO. Bosch also aims to further improve result in 2014.
Sensor technology – global market leader for the technology of the future
Internet-enabled products and internet-based services are one of the focal points of the company's future sales growth. With its hardware know-how and broad technological expertise, Denner believes Bosch is well prepared to move into this direction. “Bosch's traditional strengths – our innovative strength, high standard of quality, international presence, and the integrative force of our corporate culture – are also valuable in the connected world,” Denner said. Moreover, the company is global market leader in the area of micromechanical sensors (MEMS), a key technology when it comes to networking things on the internet. Bosch's strategic objective is to create solutions for connected mobility, connected industry, connected energy systems, and connected buildings.
Intelligent sensors – basis for the internet of things
Sensors enable a new form of technical assistance in day-to-day life. Describing the strategic significance of sensor technology, Denner said: “Whether we are speaking of automated driving or the smart home, a new quality of comfort, safety, and efficiency is developing, and Bosch is creating the technical conditions for this change.” In 2013, the market leader produced one billion micromechanical sensors. This year, a further 30 percent increase is planned. Intelligent sensors are the next level of technological progress. These are equipped with a radio interface and a microcontroller. As a result, sensors are able to transmit relevant data via the internet, for instance to mobile end devices. “Smartphones will not be the only devices to be equipped with sensors. Any 'smart' object will feature internet-enabled sensor technology,” Denner said.
Automated driving – also at higher speeds from 2020
Sensor technology is also a major technological prerequisite for future driving. Modern driver assistance systems require ultrasound, radar, and video sensors. This year, Bosch will produce nearly 50 million ultrasound sensors, 25 percent more than the previous year. The number of radar and video sensors produced will double to more than two million units. As early as 2016, sales of driver assistance systems will exceed one billion euros. By 2020, the company aims to enable automated driving at higher speeds on freeways. In the coming decade, fully automated driving using an autopilot function could become possible. “Automated driving is a technology that saves lives. At the same time, it can spark drivers' enthusiasm, since it offers them support with tiresome driving tasks,” Denner said.
Connected road traffic – new services
For driving to be automated, there has to be connected traffic as well as car-to-x communication. By 2025, almost every new car will be equipped with wireless data communication technology. Even now, the connected vehicle makes a broad range of services possible. In 2013, Bosch began offering its eCall emergency call system. When sensors record that a vehicle has had an accident, an automatic emergency call is made. Last year, the Bosch monitoring center processed a good 30,000 emergency calls. In the area of telematics, Bosch offers fleet management services for leasing and insurance companies. “For us, connectivity on the roads not only means efficiency and comfort, it also means safer driving,” Denner said.
Doubling sales in Asia and the Americas by 2020
Asia continues to be Bosch's number one growth region. By 2020, the company aims to double its sales in the region. For this reason, the level of capital expenditure will remain high. From 2010 to 2014, Bosch will have invested some 3.3 billion euros in the region. The company also aims to double its sales in North and South America by the end of the decade. In addition to expanding its manufacturing capacity, Bosch is strengthening its local development activities. In Guadalajara, Mexico, the company is currently opening a new development and software center. In Africa, too, Bosch aims to significantly increase its sales in the years ahead. In 2014, the company will further expand its presence on the continent. In Europe, Bosch aims to grow faster than the market despite the region's economic situation, which continues to be weak. As it expands its international presence, Bosch is also developing a growing number of products and services that are tailored to local customer needs.
The business year 2013 – improved sales and earnings
In fiscal 2013, Bosch increased its sales by 3.1 percent, to 46.1 billion euros (*based on an adjusted previous-year figure of 44.7 billion euros). The disclosed sales figure takes the exit from crystalline photovoltaics into consideration as well as consolidation effects resulting from changed accounting policies and acquisitions in the previous year. After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales grew 6.3 percent. As a result of negative exchange-rate effects to the tune of some 1.5 billion euros, the strong euro had a very negative impact on the sales figure. Excluding burdens from photovoltaics, Bosch disclosed a 6 percent EBIT margin. This translates into EBIT of 2.8 billion euros. The positive developments in the Automotive Technology business sector made a significant contribution to the improvement in result. “Also thanks to our many efforts to cut costs, we have taken an important step toward achieving our target EBIT margin of 8 percent,” Asenkerschbaumer said. Even including the extraordinary burden of 1.3 billion euros resulting from photovoltaics, EBIT margin increased to 3.2 percent. Bosch has discontinued the activities in the area of crystalline photovoltaics. The company has now sold most of its activities in this area. The sale of the remaining activities is planned to be finalized in the first half of 2014.
Headcount increased in 2013 – further workforce expansion planned in 2014
In 2014, Bosch expects headcount requirements to increase mainly in the Asia Pacific growth region. Altogether, some 9,000 university graduates will be hired around the world. In Germany, the company is planning to hire some 800 university graduates. The number of new apprentices in Germany will be same as the previous year, at around 1,400. In 2013, the Bosch Group's workforce grew by about 8,500, to 281,000 (*adjusted previous-year figure: 273,000).
Automotive Technology – strong growth around the world in all divisions
In 2013, the Automotive Technology business sector increased its sales by 6.7 percent (10.3 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects), to 30.6 billion euros. Its EBIT of 2.4 billion euros and EBIT margin of 7.7 percent were considerably higher than the previous year.
Industrial Technology – packaging machinery sales of one billion euros
In 2013, the Industrial Technology business sector's sales amounted to 6.8 billion euros, 9.2 percent below the previous-year level (down 6.5 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects). The difficult economic situation hit the Drive and Control Technology division especially hard. In contrast, the Packaging Technology division developed positively. Overall, the Industrial Technology business sector recorded a negative EBIT margin of 1.2 percent. EBIT showed a loss of 83 million euros.
Energy and Building Technology – connected products for smart heating
The Energy and Building Technology business sector increased its sales by 3.9 percent (5.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 4.6 billion euros. The sector improved its result to some 106 million euros. Its EBIT margin came to 2.3 percent. In particular, the Thermotechnology division developed well.
Consumer Goods – market leader for innovative power tools
In 2013, the Consumer Goods business sector generated sales of 4.1 billion euros (note: as a result of changes to accounting policy, this figure includes sales of the Power Tools division only, plus some miscellaneous other sales). After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales were 2.9 percent higher than the previous year. In nominal terms, sales decreased slightly. The Consumer Goods business sector achieved an EBIT margin of 10.4 percent. Its EBIT of 415 million euros included the proportionate after-tax profit of the BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH joint venture. Even without this result, the business sector's EBIT margin was encouraging.
Europe – growth in a difficult economic situation
In Europe, Bosch sales grew despite the ongoing difficult economic situation. The company's sales in the region increased 2.2 percent (2.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 25.5 billion euros. Sales increased slightly in Germany as well. Bosch invested 1.6 billion euros in Europe in 2013. Especially in eastern Europe, the company is currently expanding its manufacturing capacity. Last year, Bosch invested more than 900 million euros in Germany.
The Americas – strong growth in North America, recovery in South America
In the Americas, sales in nominal terms varied considerably in 2013. In North America, Bosch sales grew by 3.5 percent (6.8 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 7.8 billion euros. This was in part the result of an increase in vehicle production. In contrast, sales in the South American market decreased by 3.6 percent, to 1.7 billion euros. However, after adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales increased 8.9 percent. Bosch invested some 280 million euros in North and South America in 2013.
Asia Pacific – improvement in China, severe currency effects
In Asia Pacific, Bosch achieved sales growth of 5.8 percent (13.8 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to roughly 11.1 billion euros. Especially in the Chinese growth market, demand for automotive and industrial technology picked up significantly over the course of the year. Demand for automotive technology was also high in Southeast Asia. In India, poor economic conditions meant that business developed less well than forecast. The same applied to Japan. In 2013, Bosch again made considerable investments in Asia Pacific. With some 620 million euros spent, Bosch focused especially on expanding its manufacturing capacity for automotive components.
Research and development expenditure remains high
Last year, Bosch spent some 4.5 billion euros, or 10 percent of sales, on research and development. Bosch researchers filed nearly 5,000 patents over the course of 2013, some 20 per working day. The company plans to continue expanding its research and development capacity this year. By the end of 2014, Bosch will have some 45,000 researchers and engineers on board. More than 2,000 additional researchers will be hired in Asia Pacific, for instance. The company is also boosting its innovative strength in Germany, with a new center for research and advance engineering in Renningen, near Stuttgart.
Maintaining cutting-edge research – rapid transfer to industrial application
Denner, whose responsibilities on the Bosch board of management also include research and development, called for greater political commitment to promoting innovation: “Policymakers need to set their sights higher.” While Germany is close to spending 3 percent of GDP on research, the private sector has played a greater role in this achievement than the public sector has. Denner deplored the fact that universities were chronically underfunded. In some cases, he said, there was not enough money to pay for the buildings' upkeep. For him, the result was obvious: top researchers were leaving Germany in favor of research institutes in other countries. Denner went on: “In research and development, Germany and other European countries have to measure up to the world's leading countries.” He said that funding must above all benefit basic research, as well as its rapid transfer to industrial application. “Top universities make the regions they are located in more appealing. Companies indirectly benefit from this as well.” Bosch itself is an active member of 250 university research partnerships.
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- April 30, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 17
- Four new HD voice MEMS microphones deliver superior voice capture for multi-microphone applications
- New line-up features AKU346, the only MEMS microphone to achieve a 64dB SNR in a tiny 6mm2 footprint
- Akustica/Bosch in-house MEMS design and manufacturing capability enables more rapid product generations
New innovations in design and manufacturing enable an inherently guaranteed +/-1dB sensitivity matching between microphones. This microphone-to-microphone uniformity, along with the high SNR of the new HD voice microphones, fulfills a critical need for consumer-electronic device manufacturers who incorporate more than one microphone along with noise suppression algorithms into their devices. These algorithms generally rely on well-matched, high-performance microphones for optimization of noise cancellation and speech recognition accuracy.
Particularly challenging use cases for speech recognition are noisy environments and applications where the speaker is far away (>3 feet) from the microphones. In these situations, testing has shown that even a small improvement in SNR (1-2dB) can lead to dramatic improvements in command accuracy rates (>5%). A few percentage points of accuracy can make the difference between speech recognition ubiquity and obsolescence. This has led device manufacturers to continually look for higher performance and more uniform microphones that can meet the needs of their multi-microphone application without incurring the extra costs commonly charged today for binning and sorting after final test.
“The need for the highest-performing multi-microphone solutions is growing rapidly in the smartphone market, where the average number of microphones per phone has been steadily increasing for the last few years,” said Jérémie Bouchaud, director and senior principal analyst, MEMS & Sensors, IHS. “Today, the use of two microphones has become a standard feature for smartphones. Higher-end phones can have upwards of four microphones, further increasing the need for high SNR and tighter sensitivity matching like that provided by Akustica’ s new microphones.”
Bouchaud also pointed out that MEMS microphones achieving ≥64dB SNR comprise the fastest-growing portion of the overall MEMS microphone market and are expected to generate 50% of the revenue of this important market segment by 2017.
AKU346 – Industry’s Smallest MEMS Microphone with 64dB SNR
With a footprint of just 6mm2 and an ultra-thin 0.93mm height, the AKU346 utilizes 33 percent less design space than a typical industry standard bottom-port microphone but still achieves a 64dB SNR--making it particularly well suited for use in small wearable accessories such as wired and wireless headsets, smartwatches and glasses.
AKU143, AKU345, AKU344
The AKU143, AKU345, and AKU344 are top- and bottom-port microphones with a higher SNR of 65dB, and are footprint and pin-for-pin compatible with previous generations of Akustica HD voice microphones. The industry standard form factors of all three microphones provide a straightforward path for upgrading performance of current designs.
All four of the new microphones can also support ultrasonic applications such as gesture recognition, gaming, pens and location detection.
In-house MEMS Design and Manufacturing Capability
Akustica’s new generation of HD voice microphones round out a complete portfolio of Bosch MEMS sensors supporting the human-machine interface (HMI) within consumer-electronic devices, and is another demonstration of Bosch’s commitment to consistently delivering high-performance, high-volume and high-quality MEMS sensors. With in-house design teams for MEMS, circuit design, and packaging, and more than 1000 MEMS patents and 20+ years of MEMS manufacturing experience, Akustica has quickly been able to introduce a new generation of HD voice microphones with higher performance, more uniformity, greater robustness, and smaller footprints. Additionally, Akustica’s customers now benefit from the additional economies of scale gained by manufacturing in Bosch’s advanced 8” (200mm) wafer fabrication facility in Reutlingen, Germany.
“In-house MEMS design and manufacturing speeds new product development and allows us to be a reliable and valuable partner for our customers,” said Horst Muenzel, CEO and general manager, Akustica. “We are committed to delivering new and compelling features to our customers while also adhering to stringent Bosch principles of quality and environmental responsibility. As a result, our customers know they can depend on us to deliver high volumes of MEMS microphones on time and in-spec with the high levels of performance, quality, and reliability that they have come to expect from Bosch.”
Samples of all four new HD voice microphones are available now for lead customers with mass production planned for Q2 2014. For customer pricing information, please visit http://www.akustica.com/contact.asp to find a local sales representative. For more information and datasheets for these products, please visit www.akustica.com.
- March 11, 2014
- Press releases
- Bosch Sensortec, Akustica
- Images: 1