Industry-Unique Sensors from STMicroelectronics Enable High-Shock Detection in Black Boxes and Hockey Helmets

STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications and the leading supplier of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) for consumer and portable applications 1, today unveiled the world’s first motion sensor that measures very high accelerations along all three axes at ultra-low current consumption. ST’s H3LIS331DL accelerometers address the need for precise shock detection up to 400 g2 in space- and power-constrained applications, from car black boxes to medical monitoring devices and sports equipment.

There is a need to detect and measure high-g shocks in a broad range of applications. Whereas existing high-g shock-detection solutions are mostly based on single- or dual-axis, power-hungry ‘airbag-type’ sensors, ST’s new high-g accelerometers deliver both the three-dimensional precision and ultra-low current consumption optimized for battery-operated applications.

Power-stingy, precise high-shock detection devices open new possibilities for portable medical instrumentation and concussion monitoring in high-impact sports like ice hockey, American football or car racing. ST’s high-g sensors can also significantly improve crash-detection capabilities in event data recorders (black boxes) and freight monitoring systems, as well as enhance anti-shock protection functionality in consumer electronics.

ST’s high-g accelerometers provide three-axis motion sensing across selectable from ±100 g up to ±400 g full-scale ranges, and boast excellent stability over time and temperature. An on-chip IC interface converts the acceleration data into a 12-bit digital bit stream that is transmitted with high reliability to a dedicated microcontroller chip through a standard SPI or I2C protocol.

The H3LIS331DL combines a novel sensing-structure design with the market-proven low-power interface of ST’s LIS331DLx acceleration sensors, the industry-standard devices that have shipped in several hundred million units to date.

Samples of ST’s high-g accelerometers are available and volume production is expected to start by the end of Q2 2012. Unit pricing is $5 for volumes in the range of 1,000 pieces. Further pricing options are available for larger quantities.

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