Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sensor fusion and converging elements

Sensor fusion encompasses hardware and software elements. There can be many data sources, such as MEMS. non-MEMS, etc.

The obvious question: why sensor fusion? Tony Massimini, chief of technology, Semico Research Corp., USA, said that it is useful for power savings, and the initial reason was to improve accuracy and reliability of inertial measurement units (IMUs, etc. If we look at the progression of sensors to sensor fusion, there have been simple interrupts such as screen orientation, tap detection, fall detection, and so on. IMUs are available for location-based services (LBS) and navigation, and IMUs are available and other data sources, etc.

Sensor fusion enhances user experience with portable devices. The growth is driven by smartphones. Competing devices will add more features to keep up with smartphones such as tablets, notebooks (ultraportables). Key growth markets today will provide basis for future end use markets (see graph: systems with sensor fusion). The market will likely grow at a CAGR of 58.8 percent till 2016.
New end use markets and apps include gaming, HUD, sports, health and fitness, personal navigation, personal medical, context awareness, voice recognition, visual recognition, augmented reality and automation.

Sensor fusion is used for enhancing the user experience. For instance, add data to 3D axes frame of reference. Sensor fusion offers always ON and low latency. You can also connect to external sensors -- wearable for health and fitness. Life tagging is possible too, e.g. photo and video library for context aware services. Next, there is improved security with biometrics.

Summarizing the sensor fusion market, the MEMS sensor ASPs continue to erode. There are an increasing number of sensors. There are improved MEMS sensors, including hardware accelerators. There is interaction with cloud for data. It also enables application innovations. Finally, there are new end use markets.

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