Freescale Semiconductor introduced a new high-precision MEMS digital pressure sensor for altitude detection designed to help users further leverage advanced navigation capabilities and emerging location-based services such as GPS assist and e911. The Freescale Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 pressure sensor, based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology, complements the accelerometers and magnetometers in the Xtrinsic portfolio to meet the growing demand for these types of components in smart mobile devices.

The Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 smart digital pressure sensor processes pressure and temperature data locally, requiring fewer computations assigned to the applications processor and thereby reducing power significantly compared to systems using basic sensors directly managed by the host processor. The pressure sensor features optimal efficiency with a FIFO (first-in/first-out) memory buffer, a standby mode of 2 micro amps and a low-power mode of 8.5 micro amps for current consumption savings depending on conditions of the processor and output data rates chosen.

The Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 MEMS digital pressure sensor is designed to address the increasing popularity of mobile location-based services used in sophisticated handsets by delivering 30 cm resolution, which enables the device to identify elevation at a granular level. For example, a phone could detect the exact floor a user is on within a high-rise building or a shopping mall, allowing location-based services to more accurately reflect immediate surroundings.

Beyond the smartphone mobile device market, the Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 pressure sensor has many other potential applications, including tracking assets in business and industrial settings, providing precise locations in emergency search and rescue missions, forecasting climate changes in desktop weather stations and monitoring home cooling and heating systems. In addition, the sensor is ideal for medical applications, including respiratory equipment and health monitoring and detection systems that can help identify the location of patients within their homes or other environments.