With Bosch in lead role, partners on the AMELI 4.0 project are developing the industry sensors of the future
Modified MEMS sensors measure machinery noise to monitor operating status
System to work without need for external energy sources, preventing downtimes and improving maintenance
Stuttgart – Headed by Bosch, seven partners are collaborating on a project, called AMELI 4.0, to develop the sensor system of the future for connected manufacturing, or Industry 4.0. The system is intended to monitor machines and immediately detect deviations from their normal operating status. With the system’s help, factories can go a long way toward preventing machines from having unplanned downtimes. Instead of adhering to rigid maintenance intervals, companies can maintain their equipment precisely when it is needed. This approach is expected to cut the costs of maintaining, inspecting, and repairing machines by up to 30 percent. AMELI 4.0 is a research project aimed at improving the market position of German companies with regard to Industry 4.0. For this reason, it is being funded to the tune of 3.84 million euros by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of its “IKT 2020 – Research for Innovation” program.
Tough demands on sensors Sensors play a key role in Industry 4.0 as the artificial “eyes and ears” of machines and workpieces, for which they capture information about condition and performance. To facilitate intelligent management and connectivity in manufacturing, the sensors have to collect and process huge amounts of data in real time. They also need to be as energy efficient as possible and be easy to integrate into complex production systems. The industry sensors currently in widespread use are limited in their usefulness for Industry 4.0. For many applications, they are not smart or flexible enough, consume too much energy, and are too expensive.
MEMS sensors for industry To fulfill the objectives of the AMELI 4.0 research project, the researchers are turning to one of the key technologies of the connected world: MEMS sensors (MEMS stand for microelectromechanical systems). Even now, it is impossible to imagine cars and consumer electronics without MEMS sensors. They are the core component of the ESP® anti-skid system, for example, and also ensure that the display on a smartphone screen rotates when the device is turned. Compared to conventional industrial sensors, MEMS sensors are small, smart, energy efficient, and economical. However, in many respects they are not yet robust or powerful enough for the demands of an industrial environment. This means that some of the potential to apply condition monitoring in production systems is going untapped. The AMELI 4.0 research team plans to further develop MEMS sensors to make them suitable for industrial applications. Energy supply plays a major role here: the new system will not require either power cables or batteries. It is designed to be completely self-sufficient by generating the necessary power itself from the machines’ vibrations (energy harvesting).
The difference is in the sound To monitor the machines, the new sensor system will measure two types of noise: structure-borne sound, meaning vibrations inside the machine, and acoustic sound, meaning noise emitted by the machine. When a machine is not working as planned, it vibrates and sounds different than it does when operating normally. The system compares the measured signals with stored profiles. It continues learning, and takes action only if the changes in the signals indicate a defect or wear and tear. As a result, in the future the sensor system will be able to detect when a machine needs maintenance or repair. In more complex systems, this smart evaluation can be handled by the gateway (or router as it is sometimes called), to which the sensors transmit their data, or the manufacturing facility’s computer network.
Research in the network The AMELI 4.0 project brings together institutes and industry partners that are global leaders in their respective fields – sensor technology, systems and mechanical engineering, condition monitoring of machines, energy conversion, and microtechnology – in their efforts to drive innovations forward. Robert Bosch GmbH, the market leader for MEMS sensors, is spearheading the project. The other partners are Siemens AG, Hahn Schickard Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK, Binder-Elektronik GmbH, Schaudt Mikrosa GmbH, and Stackforce GmbH. The name AMELI 4.0 stands for micro-electromechanical system for condition monitoring in Industry 4.0. Launched in December 2015, the project is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2018.
Ultra-low power consumption helps extend usage intervals of battery driven devices
Enables smart watch gestures, step counting, magnetic heading and device orientation
Pin- and register-compatible with BMI160 for design flexibility
Today, Bosch Sensortec is launching the BMX160, a compact 9-axis motion sensor that is ideally suited for a wide range of applications such as smartphones, smart watches, fitness trackers, smart jewelry – e.g. rings, necklaces – as well as Augmented/Virtual Reality devices.
Compared to smartphones, wearables face much harsher space and power constraints. It's precisely this environment where a tiny power-efficient 9-axis sensor like the BMX160 offers an ideal solution. This new sensor is housed in a compact 2.5 x 3.0 x 0.95 mm3 package, the smallest 9-axis motion sensor in the industry.
By combining Bosch Sensortec’s advanced accelerometer, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensor technologies, the BMX160 is able to meet the increasingly more stringent low-power requirements demanded by wearable devices. Bosch's low-power sensor technology makes this the standout 9-axis inertial sensor on the market, reducing power consumption below 1.5 milliampere (mA). This sensor is ideally suited for applications that face extreme form factor restraints, e.g. in smart glasses.
“By combining Bosch Sensortec’s advanced sensor technologies into a single compact package, the BMX160 sets new industry benchmarks for high performance, tiny footprint and low power consumption”, said Jeanne Forget, Vice President Marketing, Bosch Sensortec. “This device finally overcomes today’s placement constraints in smartphones and directly addresses the demands of wearable devices, where PCB space and low power consumption are at an even greater premium”.
Enabling wearable applications The BMX160 sensor enables Android wearable applications relying on sensor data such as device orientation, magnetic heading or the gravity vector. Moreover, the sensor supports applications such as 3D indoor mapping and smartphone optimized virtual reality applications – e.g. cardboard Virtual Reality (VR). The sensor can be used in conjunction with the Bosch Sensortec BSX sensor data fusion software library to further optimize performance.
The single-package BMX160 effectively replaces the present mainstream two-component workaround solution, i.e. combination of a 6-axis IMU with a 3-axis geomagnetic sensor. This innovative 9-axis motion sensor provides the placement flexibility necessary for overcoming current limitations on positioning of the magnetic sensor. Pin- and register-compatibility with Bosch Sensortec’s industry-standard 6-axis BMI160 IMU simplifies the task of upgrading designs.
Built-in power management unit The BMX160 has a built-in power management unit and ultra-low power background application features. This enables the power-hungry application processor to remain in sleep mode much longer, for example when counting steps, which further contributes to extending battery recharge intervals. The integrated step counter function and the Android compatible significant motion detector only consume 30 microampere (µA) each.
The accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetic technology in the BMX160 have been optimized for low offset, low noise and best temperature stability. Bosch Sensortec gyroscope technology offers an extremely low drift, which is a key requirement for an accurate real-time user experience, especially in augmented and virtual reality applications.
Availability Samples are available for development partners.
Programmable platform for vital sensing, sensor fusion and always-on sensor processing
Ultra-low power consumption for maximum system battery life
Vital analytics software from Firstbeat for enhanced user experience
Today, at the 2016 Mobile World Congress, Bosch Sensortec introduces its first generation of sensor hub products with optimized vital sensing features. These devices fuse photoplethysmography (PPG) signals with the onboard inertial MEMS sensors signals for robust, motion compensated heart rate measurement and provide users with valuable insights about their wellbeing and fitness level using Firstbeat’s field-proven vital analytics algorithms.
Vital analytics for an enhanced user experience These new BHV250 and BHV160 sensors are designed for always-on sensor enabled wearable applications such as fitness wristbands, earphones and smart textiles. As a complete sensor solution they feature ultra-low power consumption in a compact package, with integrated software and a wide-range support for different PPG chipsets. The integrated software from Firstbeat processes raw sensor data to open up a world of motion-compensated vital monitoring, activity recognition applications and gesture based user interfaces.
The unique combination of the Bosch’s Vital Sensor Hubs with Firstbeat’s extensive vital analytics software enables a rich user experience by providing the tools for sleep analysis, calorie consumption calculation, fitness training evaluation, and "stress and recovery" monitoring. The myriad of future applications is only limited by the designer's imagination.
“With this all-round sensor subsystem, our customers can now focus on providing added value to their end users, confident in the knowledge that they have a highly integrated, ultra-low power solution”, said Jeanne Forget-Funk, VP Marketing at Bosch Sensortec. “With the fitness tracking and wearables markets expanding so rapidly, we await with great interest the explosion of innovation that will be triggered by this technology”.
“Firstbeat’s revolutionary analytics software creates a digital model of a user’s physiology through advanced modeling of heart function and heart rate variability (HRV)”, said Joni Kettunen, CEO and Co-founder of Firstbeat. “The Bosch sensor subsystem provides the accurate data and flexible programmability that enables our software to deliver new insights to users at ultra-low power consumption”.
Product details The BHV250 and BHV160 integrate innovative 3- respectively 6-axis inertial MEMS sensors designed around the new Bosch Sensortec DSP ‘Fuser Core’ powering Firstbeat’s vital analytics software. Both devices include an accelerometer, and the BHV160 also includes a gyroscope.
The AndroidTM Wear-compatible sensor hubs are the components with the lowest power consumption available on the market today, helping to significantly extend system battery life time.
The sensor hubs have tiny footprints that are indispensable for applications where space is tight. The BHV160 measures 3 x 3 x 0.95 mm3, while the BHV250 only a mere 2.2 x 2.2 x 0.95 mm3.
Samples are available today to qualified customers. Mass production is ramping up in Q2 2016. For pricing, please contact Bosch Sensortec.
Market forecast According to industry analysts, wearables are a market of increasing importance. IDC (International Data Corporation, www.idc.com) predicts that by 2019, total shipments in the wearables market will reach some 214 million units (source: link).
Press who would like to meet with Bosch Sensortec at the MWC may contact embedded PR, Anja-Maria Hastenrath, phone: +49 89 64913634-11, email: email@example.com.
Contact: Tina Horstmann, phone: +49 7121 35-35924
Contact person for press inquiries: Christian Hoenicke, phone: +49 711 811-6285
About Firstbeat Firstbeat Technologies Ltd. (“Firstbeat”) is the leading provider of physiological analytics for sports, fitness and wellbeing. The Firstbeat technology turns heartbeat data into rich, personalized and actionable insights on exercise, stress, sleep and recovery. Firstbeat analytics is used by hundreds of elite sports teams, thousands of corporations, and millions of consumers worldwide to improve their performance and wellbeing. Firstbeat has developed revolutionary analytics technology that creates a digital model of user's physiology through advanced modelling of heart function and heart rate variability (HRV).
About Bosch Sensortec 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 IoT (Internet of Things) applications.
The product portfolio includes 3-axis acceleration, gyroscope and geomagnetic sensors, integrated 6- and 9-axis as well as environmental sensors and a comprehensive software portfolio. Since its foundation in 2005, Bosch Sensortec has emerged as the technology leader in the addressed markets. The Bosch Group has been the global market leader for MEMS sensors since 1998 and has to date sold more than 6 billion MEMS sensors.
About the Bosch Group The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of more than 70 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2015, Bosch applied for some 5,400 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”