New design methodology paves the way for innovative sensors and actuators
Robots will be able to see and feel more effectively in future
Stuttgart – The design of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) is about to undergo a technological revolution: experts from research institutions and industry are investigating entirely new methods for developing MEMS. They are working together in the research project known as “Circuit Diagram-Based Design of MEMS for Applications in Optics and Robotics” – or MEMS2015 for short. This project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and coordinated by Robert Bosch GmbH. The aim is to develop the first ever universal design methodology for MEMS to plug the gaps between electronics and mechanics design, manufacturing, and subsequent integration into products.
MEMS are tiny components that require a minimum of space to measure and electronically process parameters such as acceleration, pressure, distance, temperature, light, or chemical concentrations. With their sophisticated, compact sensor and actuator systems, MEMS can for instance be used to ensure that airbags are inflated promptly before a car is involved in a collision, to measure blood pressure or oxygen content in intensive care applications, or to enable digital cameras to eliminate camera shake.
Potential 50 percent increase in the market for MEMS The new development methods for MEMS will allow innovative sensor and actuator systems to be developed – providing robots, for instance, with more effective sight and touch in the future. Using a type of modular system, the MEMS2015 researchers aim to plug the gaps between chip and sensor manufacturing on the one hand and the subsequent integration of the modules into products on the other. This will substantially increase the opportunities for widespread use of MEMS in the professional and security-relevant segments. The new methods will also allow small and medium-sized enterprises to design MEMS and integrate them into their products much more often, as well as in a wider range of configurations than at present. What is more, the potential market for MEMS stands to increase by up to 50 percent as a result.
Projecting images directly onto the retina These new development methods for MEMS will pave the way for entirely new solutions in the leading-edge applications of optics and robotics. This opens up the prospect of the wide-ranging use of micromirror arrays, similar to the devices already being used in projectors. This technology allows images to be projected directly onto the retina using special glasses. In robotics, force sensors and profilometers can be developed that analyze surfaces even more accurately than before, or that simulate an extremely precise sense of touch. The project findings are being verified as part of the project on the basis of real MEMS prototypes which, in turn, serve as demonstrators.
“The project opens up innovations in mechanical engineering and process plant engineering by using powerful sensor and actuator systems based on groundbreaking MEMS and chip technologies,” says Dr. Mirco Meiners, the project coordinator for MEMS2015 who works in the Bosch Automotive Electronics division. “The clear focus of funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) helps companies maintain their lead in innovation for key technology topics and develop new innovative, complex products.”
“The MEMS2015 project raises the bar when it comes to the quality and especially the productivity of MEMS design,” says Prof. Dr. Ralf Sommer, the scientific director of the Institut für Mikroelektronik- und Mechatronik-Systeme gemeinnützige GmbH, one of the eight partners in the project. “Basic concepts such as circuit diagram-based design, which are already successfully used in microelectronics design, are now being transferred to MEMS design. This offers users enormous advantages: for one thing, MEMS2015 facilitates new highly complex products, such as micromirror arrays, and speeds up the process of bringing them to market. For another, the project will allow us in the long run to produce a Lego-brick-style design. This will above all benefit small and medium-sized enterprises, allowing them to put together their own individual, tailor-made solutions in a flexible modular MEMS and electronics system.”
Eight partners from research and industry The MEMS2015 research project, which has a three-year term and around 3.5 million euros in funding from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the German government’s High-Tech Strategy and the ICT 2020 development program, brings together the potential of eight partners from research and industry: Cadence Design Systems GmbH, Carl Zeiss SMT GmbH, Institut für Mikroelektronik- und Mechatronik-Systeme GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, the Technical University of Munich, TETRA Gesellschaft für Sensorik, Robotik und Automation mbH, the University of Bremen, and X-FAB Semiconductor Foundries AG. The edacentrum in Hannover is responsible for project management for MEMS2015.
For more information, visit www.edacentrum.de/mems2015
About edacentrum The edacentrum is an independent institution dedicated to the promotion of research and development in the area of electronic design automation (EDA). Founded by the German microelectronics industry, it was funded during its early years by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The primary role of edacentrum is to initiate, evaluate and supervise industry-driven R&D projects, and to offer a comprehensive spectrum of services to support all matters concerning EDA development. Moreover, by encouraging EDA cluster research projects and EDA networks and by providing a communication platform for the EDA community, edacentrum brings together and reinforces the EDA expertise of universities and research institutes.
The edacentrum seeks to increase awareness among upper management, the public and the political arena, of the critical importance of design automation for solving complex system and semiconductor problems, especially those associated with micro- and nanoelectronics. More information is available online at www.edacentrum.de
Contact person at edacentrum GmbH: Ralf Popp, Phone +49 (511) 762-19697
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services, active in the fields of automotive technology, energy and building technology, industrial technology, and consumer goods. According to preliminary figures, more than 306,000 associates generated sales of 52.3 billion euros in 2012. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 350 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. Bosch spent some 4.5 billion euros for research and development in 2012, and applied for over 4,700 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group's products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is "Invented for life."
The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as "Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering." The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust.
Design of Integrated Circuits for customer-specific demands
Engagement in one of the most dynamic microelectronics centers in Europe
Bosch has started its ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuits) design activities for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) sensors in Dresden, Germany. These sensors are silicon-based and sense for instance motions, pressure or magnetic fields. MEMS sensors are to be used in a variety of automotive applications such as motor controls, vehicle dynamics controls and rollover detection – more and more in consumer electronics applications such as smart phones, games consoles or tablets as well.
The related ASIC reads out the sensor and transmits the metered value in analog or digital mode. The correspondent design of the circuit allows reliable and secure figures of merit to be required for applications such as in smart phones or cars.
Bosch sees a huge growth potential in the market for MEMS sensors and related ASICs (Application Specific ICs). The new Dresden design center expands the company’s existing network of IC design locations in Reutlingen, Munich, Shanghai and Bangalore. With its local presence in Dresden as one of Europe's most dynamic microelectronics industrial centers, Bosch also gets access to the great academic and engineering potential in the Dresden area.
"Besides our profound expertise in MEMS technology, excellent IC developers are essential factors for the expansion of our innovative product portfolio," says Udo-Martin Gomez , CTO of Bosch Sensortec GmbH. "At the same time, this move reflects Bosch's commitment to Germany as semiconductor development and manufacturing location," says Erich Biermann, Senior Vice President Engineering at Bosch Semiconductors.
Background: MEMS technology Bosch was one of the pioneers in the development of micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, and the company has produced well over two billion MEMS sensors since the start of production in 1995. Production volumes reach new record levels every year, with around half a billion sensors leaving the Reutlingen plant in 2011. This makes Bosch the world market leader, with a product range that comprises pressure, acceleration, yaw-rate, and inertial sensors for many applications in the automotive industry and in consumer electronics. For more information about Bosch automotive sensors, visit www.bosch-sensors.com.
Bosch Sensortec GmbH is a fully owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH. It develops and markets micro-mechanical sensors for consumer electronics, mobile phones, safety systems, industrial technology and logistics. The product portfolio includes triaxial geomagnetic and acceleration sensors, triaxial gyroscopes, barometric pressure sensors and a comprehensive software portfolio for various applications. Since its foundation in 2005 Bosch Sensortec 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 2 billion MEMS sensors.
Automotive Technology is the largest Bosch Group business sector. Its sales came to 30.4 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales, in fiscal 2011. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. Worldwide, more than 175,000 Automotive Technology associates work in seven areas of business: injection technology for internal-combustion engines, powertrain peripherals, alternative drive concepts, active and passive safety systems, assistance and comfort functions, in-car information and communication, as well as services and technology for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch has been responsible for important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP® anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive technology, energy and building technology, industrial technology, and consumer goods, more than 300,000 associates generated sales of 51.5 billion euros in 2011. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and roughly 350 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. Each year, Bosch spends around 4.2 billion euros for research and development, and applies for over 4,100 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group's products and services are designed to improve quality of life through solutions that are innovative and beneficial, as well as fascinating. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is "Invented for life."
High precision measurement through Bosch FlipCore technology
Powerful interrupt engine offers high design versatility
Sensor data fusion software provides eCompass functionality
With the new BMC150, Bosch Sensortec announces the second generation of its revolutionary electronic compass module. The new implementation again raises the bar in terms of package size, accuracy and versatility.
The BMC150 is a 6-axis electronic compass module based on Bosch's proven FlipCore technology which provides high accuracy and at the same time low power operation for longer battery life for smartphones, tablet computers and similar mobile devices. With a size of just 2.2 x 2.2 mm2 and a power consumption as low as 190 µA it sets new standards for compactness and battery lifetime.
Design focus on package size and low power requirements "Our focus for the BMC150 design was reducing the footprint and thus to help our customers to save valuable PCB real estate," comments Bosch Sensortec CEO Stefan Finkbeiner. "An equally important goal was increasing the measurement range. As the result, the BMC is the ideal eCompass module for innovative applications in battery-driven mobile devices such as smartphones, tablet computers and watches."
BMC150 combines a 3-axis geomagnetic sensor and a state-of-the-art 3-axis accelerometer in a single package. Its high integration translates into another benefit for users: It reduces the number of components that otherwise have to be handled and qualified separately. Both sensors form a logical and functional unit, since the g-vector generated by the accelerometer is required to calculate the tilt compensation for the azimuth data produced by the geomagnetic sensor. The accelerometer and the geomagnetic sensor in BMC150, however, can also be used as two fully functional independent devices.
Besides high integration, the sensor offers very high accuracy. Its exceptionally wide measurement range of +/- 1300 µT per axis makes it more tolerant to stray magnetic fields associated to loudspeakers or other magnetic components in smartphones. On the other hand, its extremely low noise of just 0.3 µT enables very accurate measurement.
Many applications for handheld devices such as user interface or navigation depend on an orientation vector. With eCompass library V3.0, Bosch Sensortec also offers a sensor data fusion software that performs the calculations for tilt compensation and thus generates precise heading information for compass applications. In cases where a highly dynamic orientation vector is indispensable – such as augmented reality or games – designers typically employ a gyro sensor to provide this information in a 9-axis sensor system. Along with Bosch Sensortec's FusionLib V3.0 algorithm, the 3-axis stand-alone gyro sensor BMG160 is the ideal complement to the BMC150.
Smart interrupt engine detects motion patterns The inherent intelligence of the BMC150 helps to significantly reduce time to market for application developers. With its powerful and versatile interrupt system, the BMC150 greatly facilitates the design of a broad range of different applications. The integrated smart interrupt engine enables the sensor module to automatically identify motion patterns and situations. For instance, it detects free fall conditions, flat orientation on a table, tap sensing or even no motion at all for a definable period of time. These status data enable the implementation of many innovative features for mobile devices such as activating sleep mode and waking it up by tapping it with a finger.
Developers also benefit from the new FIFO buffer which acts as a temporary storage for measurement data until they are needed. This feature offloads the application processor further, effectively reducing the system's overall power consumption. The accelerometer section of the sensor can be adjusted to four different g ranges between +/- 2g and +/- 16g, enabling designers to select the g range that fits best their application. The Bosch Sensortec BMC150 is available now.
BMA355 - industry's smallest 3-axis MEMS accelerometer for space-constrained applications
BNO055 - 9-axis sensor node plus sensor fusion, all in a single package
BSX3.0 FusionLib - sensor fusion software providing accurate and robust “virtual sensors”
LAS VEGAS – Bosch Sensortec, a leading global provider of consumer MEMS, today launched new sensors for smartphones, tablets, global positioning systems (GPS) and other consumer electronics for which sensing motion and location are critical. At the 2013 International CES, the company will showcase three new products that reflect its ongoing strategy to offer customers greater design flexibility through the delivery of smaller, energy-efficient, higher-performance and more tightly integrated sensor-software combinations.
“Bosch Sensortec's MEMS-product portfolio sets the industry standard for small size, scalable performance and ease of integration,” said Dr. Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec. “This includes single-function MEMS inertial sensors, integrated system-in-package products, and highly intelligent sensor-fusion software. Our new products reflect these attributes, supporting our goal for sustained technology leadership. They also empower our customers to add with ease the intelligent sensing required for so many consumer electronics.”
BMA355 Featuring wafer-level chip scale package with a size of just 1.2 x 1.5 x 0.8 mm3, the BMA355 is the smallest 3-axis MEMS accelerometer on the market. It enables designers to embed accelerometer functionality in space-constrained applications. Featuring low power consumption, 12-bit digital resolution and a flexible integrated interrupt engine, the BMA355 is ideally suited for applications requiring extremely small form factors, such as power management for hearing aids and sensor nodes in ubiquitous sensor networks (USN) for the Internet of Things. Designers of consumer devices such as smartphones, tablets, game consoles and digital cameras will also benefit from the space and power savings derived from the BMA355. The BMA355 supports motion detection, portrait-landscape orientation-switching, flat detection, tap/double-tap sensing, shock detection and free-fall protection as well as advanced power management for mobile devices.
BNO055 The BNO055 is the first in a new family of Application Specific Sensor Nodes (ASSN) implementing an intelligent 9-axis “Absolute Orientation Sensor,” which includes sensors and sensor fusion in a single package. The BNO055 is a system-in-package (SiP), integrating a triaxial 12-bit accelerometer, a triaxial 16-bit gyroscope with a range of ±2000 degrees per second, a triaxial geomagnetic sensor and a 32-bit microcontroller running the company's BSX3.0 FusionLib software. At just 5.0 x 4.5 mm2, it is significantly smaller than comparable discrete or system-on-board solutions. By integrating sensors and sensor fusion in a single device, the BNO055 eases the integration process for customers, freeing them from the complexities of multi-vendor solutions so they can spend more time on product innovation, including novel applications such as wearable hardware. It is also the perfect choice for augmented reality (AR), more immersive gaming, personal health and fitness, indoor navigation and any other application requiring context awareness.
BSX3.0 FusionLib BSX3.0, the third generation of Bosch Sensortec's FusionLib sensor-fusion software, intelligently fuses raw data from multiple sensors for optimal performance. The FusionLib software supports 9-axis and 6-axis implementations and can be scaled to run optimally on both embedded microcontroller and application processors, thus, supporting both Android and Microsoft Windows 8 operating systems today. The software's scalable architecture also means that it can be easily adapted for other operating systems.
The FusionLib software provides a ready-to-use advanced sensor-fusion system that reduces the complexity for OEMs and helps in the rapid development of advanced sensor applications, such as AR, image stabilization, pedestrian tracking and gesture recognition.
Availability In mid 2013, Bosch Sensortec will start sampling the new sensors BMA355 and BNO055 to key development partners.
BSX FusionLib is available today under software license agreement to customers developing 6- and 9-axis solutions with Bosch Sensortec MEMS devices.
Bosch at CES Bosch will be well represented in conference halls and on the show floor at the 2013 International CES. At a press conference, Bosch will provide valuable first-hand insight into future strategies and developments in MEMS technology and applications. The Bosch press conference will take place on Monday, Jan. 7, from 8:00 a.m. until 8:45 a.m. PST at Mandalay Bay, Level 3, Banyan A.
Klaus Meder, president of the Bosch Automotive Electronics division, will give the “MEMS Generation” keynote: “Why Miniature 'Machines' are Changing the User Experience with Everything,” at 9:15 a.m. PST, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, LVCC, North Hall N264.
Bosch Sensortec will showcase its newest products and innovations at the Bosch booth, LVCC, South Hall 1, stand #21322, during exhibition hours.