With an aim to help social-fitness fans stay motivated, STMicroelectronics has recently released smart motion sensors that enable always-on tracking applications to run longer and record progress more accurately.

The LIS2DS12 3-axis “pico” accelerometer, LSM6DSL/M 6-axis inertial module and the LSM303AH eCompass help track movement continuously with minimal impact on device battery life by performing various motion-related calculations efficiently on-chip instead of using the main system processor. Pre-embedded algorithms that include high-precision pedometer, step detection, step counting and significant motion and tilt detection effectively reduce engineering effort and accelerate time to market for imaginative new apps on devices such as fitness bands, medical monitors, personal navigation and IoT nodes, in addition to smartphones and wearable devices.

These sensors are already integrated in several smartphones to enable WeRun, a feature of the WeChat messaging app used by more than 90% of people in China’s largest cities. The LSM303AH eCompass along with the on-board pedometer suiting the WeRun app combines an accelerometer with a magnetic sensor that more than doubles the heading accuracy of other eCompass or pure magnetometer solutions tested at the same geographical latitudes. Combined with the continuous accurate step monitoring, this ensures extremely precise location awareness by dead reckoning where there is no GPS signal, such as in offices, car parks or shopping malls. ST’s smart sensors also implement selectable power modes and resolution that help optimise energy efficiency and performance.

In addition, ST has engineered advanced software that simplifies user calibration of the temperature drift and the magnetic sensor. It also simplifies system design including an embedded FIFO, built-in self-test, integrated temperature sensor and programmable interrupts for conditions such as freefall.