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Posted: October 2, 2007

Smaller and Smarter Motion Sensors from STMicroelectronics Spearhead MEMS Consumerization

(Nanowerk News) STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM - News), one of the world's leading manufacturers of MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical System) devices, today introduced a new generation of 'nano' three-axis linear accelerometers. The versatile, low-power MEMS sensors provide complete output flexibility and embedded smart features, meeting the exploding demand for miniaturized motion-sensing solutions in the consumer and industrial markets.
ST's new 3-axis motion sensors represent a significant step forward in the product's miniaturization. Developed in-house, the 3x3x0.9mm plastic package effectively addresses the space and weight constraints of portable electronic devices. The LIS331 accelerometers deliver high performance at low power consumption and their ultra-compact robust design provides very high immunity to vibration and shock survivability up to 10,000g.
ST's 'nano' motion sensors are suitable for a wide range of low-g applications in the consumer and industrial markets, including motion user interfaces in mobile and gaming devices, free-fall detection for hard-disk data protection, and vibration monitoring and compensation in white-goods appliances.
ST's LIS331DL integrates a standard SPI/I2C digital interface and a host of smart embedded features, including click and double-click recognition, wake-up and motion detection, high-pass filters, and two dedicated highly programmable interrupt lines.
Click and double-click recognition allows manufacturers to associate simple tapping gestures with user commands, such as turning a portable device ON or OFF, opening a document, browsing an application menu, or muting a ringing mobile phone without taking it from the pocket.
The configurable high-pass filters can be turned on to enable motion- activated functions and vibration monitoring regardless of whether the end product is tilted or placed upside down at the moment of measurement.
Two separate, highly programmable interrupt signals enable immediate notification of motion detection and click/double-click events, giving manufacturers more freedom and flexibility in their design and applications.
The analog-output LIS331AL provides individual acceleration values for all three (x, y, z) axes. The sensor offers a full-scale output range of +/-2.0g, high temperature stability and tight offset tolerances. It incorporates built- in self-test capability that allows the customer to verify the functioning of the sensor after it has been assembled on board.
"The consumer and industrial markets are hungry for flexible and reliable motion sensors that enable novel and friendly user interfaces and features," said Benedetto Vigna, General Manager of ST's MEMS Product Division. "ST's new family of miniaturized low-g accelerometers provides complete flexibility of outputs and rich embedded functionality that simplify device integration and allow equipment manufacturers to shorten their time-to-market. Leading manufacturing technology with an 8-inch MEMS high-volume production line and complete supply chain control, enable us to reduce unit costs and accelerate both the expansion of current applications and the development of new MEMS markets."
The MEMS market is one of the most exciting segments of the semiconductor industry, forecast to grow at around 50% over the next five years, heading towards $10 billion by 2010.*
Samples of ST's LIS331AL and LIS331DL are available now, with volume production starting in Q4 2007. Unit pricing for both devices is below $1.5 in large quantities.
For further information on the LIS331 'nano' motion sensors and ST's complete MEMS portfolio, go to www.st.com/mems
About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2006, the Company's net revenues were $9.85 billion and net earnings were $782 million. Further information on ST can be found at www.st.com.
* ST estimate based on data from market research analysts In-Stat, Nexus and Yole Development.
Source: STMicroelectronics