editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Locus of (Con)Fusion

At the MEPTEC MEMS conference a couple weeks ago, one sensor fusion question kept coming up over and over: Who’s in charge of sensor fusion?

On the one hand, IMU makers in general are giving away sensor fusion packages that help integrate the data from the individual sensors in their combo units. Then there are guys like Movea that don’t make sensors themselves, but integrate across a wide variety of sensors for both high- and low-level motion artifacts (motion in their case, but the concept extends to anything).

So who’s job is it?

I happened to have a conversation with Movea’s Dave Rothenberg that same day, and I brought the topic up.

His first comment was that what most IMU makers refer to as sensor fusion is simply the software required to establish orientation, which is a relatively low-level characteristic. He said that this correlated to Movea’s Foundation series, which they’ve actually de-emphasized a bit since it is hard to sell against free software, even if they do think they do a better job.

The sensor guys say they’re the right place to do it because they know their sensors better than anyone else. That actually covers two separate things: the physical characteristics of the sensors and how they operate, and the low-level data details – formats etc. Dave mentioned that it is work for them to adapt their software to different sensors, since they don’t all look or speak alike. (Area for future possible standardization? Future topic…) But they have to get it right in order for the other pieces that lay over it to work properly: errors at the bottom level will compound as further algorithms manipulate them.

(This also ties into the question of loose vs tight coupling, since a sensor maker is in a better position to do things tightly.)

Of course, it’s unlikely that the sensor vendors will want to take on the higher-level algorithms since those, almost by definition, will, at some point, involve sensors that they don’t make. So it looks like things may go the way of the embedded world, where critical low-level drivers and other bits of firmware are provided by (or in close partnership with) the processor maker, with other companies layering higher-value stuff on top. That seems to be how the sensor world is shaping up, which leaves room both for the sensor guys and for the third-party folks.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Oct 19, 2020
Have you ever wondered if there may another world hidden behind the facade of the one we know and love? If so, would you like to go there for a visit?...
Oct 19, 2020
Sometimes, you attend an event and it feels like you are present at the start of a new era that will change some aspect of the technology industry. Of course, things don't change overnight. One... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community si...
Oct 16, 2020
Another event popular in the tech event circuit is PCI-SIG® DevCon. While DevCon events are usually in-person around the globe, this year, like so many others events, PCI-SIG DevCon is going virtual. PCI-SIG DevCons are members-driven events that provide an opportunity to le...
Oct 16, 2020
[From the last episode: We put together many of the ideas we'€™ve been describing to show the basics of how in-memory compute works.] I'€™m going to take a sec for some commentary before we continue with the last few steps of in-memory compute. The whole point of this web...

featured video

Better PPA with Innovus Mixed Placer Technology – Gigaplace XL

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

With the increase of on-chip storage elements, it has become extremely time consuming to come up with an optimized floorplan with manual methods. Innovus Implementation’s advanced multi-objective placement technology, GigaPlace XL, provides automation to optimize at scale, concurrent placement of macros, and standard cells for multiple objectives like timing, wirelength, congestion, and power. This technology provides an innovative way to address design productivity along with design quality improvements reducing weeks of manual floorplan time down to a few hours.

Click here for more information about Innovus Implementation System

featured paper

Designing highly efficient, powerful and fast EV charging stations

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Scaling the necessary power for fast EV charging stations can be challenging. One solution is to use modular power converters stacked in parallel. Learn more in our technical article.

Click here to download the technical article

Featured Chalk Talk

Thermal Bridge Technology

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and TE Connectivity

Recent innovations can make your airflow cooling more efficient and effective. New thermal bridges can outperform conventional thermal pads in a number of ways. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Zach Galbraith of TE Connectivity about the application of thermal bridges in cooling electronic designs.

More information about TE Thermal Bridge Technology