We’ve seen the move from APs managing sensors to MCUs acting as sensor hubs to integration of sensors with MCUs, as with ST. Well, Freescale has now jumped in as well, integrating an accelerometer with a 32-bit Coldfire V1 MCU into what they’re calling their Xtrinsic Intelligent Motion platform.
Given the number of IMUs out there integrating accelerometers, gyros, and magnetometers, I asked why they were just going with an accelerometer only. They said that, frankly, in earlier days, customers didn’t seem interested in sensor hubs. They’re coming around, and clearly they’ve made their way into phones. But now industrial and other customers are starting to take note. But they’re not so much interested in the gyros and magnetometers.
That’s not to say you can’t use them; you can add other sensors into the hub via their I2C/SPI connectivity.
One of the other challenges they see for users is the fact that most sensor hub environments are closed, limiting your choice of sensors and software. They’re trying to keep things as open as possible, allowing you to integrate whatever other sensors and software they want from any vendors they choose. Freescale will provide free software, but you’re not locked in.
You can find more information in their release.