Inertial measurement unit increases system battery life; available in two versions for context and activity/gesture recognition

By Gina Roos, editor-in-chief

Bosch Sensortec
extends its BMI260 family of inertial measurement units (IMUs) with the launch
of the BMI270 ultra-low-power smart IMU for
wearable applications. Unveiled at CES 2019, the new IMU delivers an improved
accelerometer offset and sensitivity performance thanks to Bosch’s newest MEMS
process technology.

Featuring an
automotive-proven gyroscope technology, the BMI270 provides intuitive gesture,
context, and activity recognition with an integrated plug-and-play step
counter, which is optimized for accurate step counting in wrist-worn devices,
said Bosch Sensortec. Other applications include hearables, smart clothes,
smart shoes, smart glasses, and ankle bands.


The BMI270 extends
system battery life by handling multiple activity tracking, step counting, and
gesture-recognition functions independently of the main system processor
without having to wake it up. A few examples of these functions include sending
an interrupt when a certain number of steps is reached or geofencing to
activate GPS when the user stands up and starts walking.

This means that
gesture and activity recognition features operate in ultra-low-power mode, with
current consumption of only 30 μA, resulting in extended battery charging
intervals for the user.

The smart IMU is
available in two application-specific versions: gesture and context/activity.
The “gesture” version detects gestures including flick in/out, arm up/down, and
wrist tilt and is compliant with Wear OS by Google. The “context and activity”
version offers advanced features for recognizing context activity and activity
change, such as standing, walking, or being in a vehicle.

The BMI270 also
features Bosch’s motionless Component Retrimming (CRT) feature, which provides
built-in gyroscope self-calibration without a rotation stimulus. The company
said that this reduces time and costs during testing and manufacturing, while
the embedded plug-and-play features cut time to market.

The BMI270, housed in
a 2.5 × 3.0 × 0.8-mm3 footprint, is pin-to-pin compatible with the
BMI160, BMI260, BMI261, and BMI263. The IMU will be available in the second
quarter of 2019.