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PNI Sensor Announces First Chip to Support all 4.4 KitKat Sensors

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – June 25, 2014 — PNI Sensor (PNI), a leader in magnetic sensing and sensor fusion technologies, today announced SENtral™-K, the first ultra-low power ‘sensor hub’ to support all Android 4.4 KitKat sensors. SENtral-K embeds the complete range of KitKat sensors on its low-power SENtral coprocessor, allowing smartphone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to support always-on context-aware applications such as Google Now.

“Android 4.4 KitKat sensors — which Google calls ‘sensors.h’ — are not traditional hardware sensors,” said Becky Oh, president and CEO, PNI Sensor Corp. “Rather they specify common outputs for fused and raw sensor data from MEMS inertial sensors such as gyros and accelerometers. Step Detect/Count, Linear Acceleration and Significant Motion are examples of sensors.h sensor features that you would want to always have running in the background without draining precious battery.”

“SENtral-K is ideally suited to Android 4.4 KitKat designs because it was built from the ground up for low power,” explained Oh. “As a coprocessor that functions like a sensor-agnostic ‘sensor hub,’ SENtral-K gives designers the flexibility to choose the most power-efficient sensors from a range of suppliers. It is also the only chip that can run all KitKat sensors simultaneously for under 200µAmps.”

SENtral-K supports all Android 4.4 KitKat sensors.h, including:

  • 9 degrees of freedom(DOF) (3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyro plus 3-axis magnetometer)
  • 6DOF (accelerometer plus gyro or accelerometer plus magnetometer)
  • Gravity
  • Linear Acceleration      
  • Step Detect/Count      
  • Significant Motion        
  • Calibrated Sensor        
  • Un-calibrated Sensor   
  • Data Batching             
  • Timestamp

Outperforming Competitors

Competitive solutions come in two forms: microcontroller (MCU)-based sensor hubs running third-party KitKat sensor algorithms licensed from specialized software companies and MEMS sensors that run the bulk of the KitKat sensor algorithms on the mobile device’s app processor. SENtral offers a single solution with both the enabling hardware and software for KitKat and ‘always-on’ operation of the highest-performance motion, context and location algorithms.

In direct benchmarking against FLASH-based sensor hub MCUs with on board floating point units (FPU), SENtral-K operates at less than 10 times the power. SENtral-K can routinely run over 140,000 floating point operations per second at about 200µAmps average current consumption in real use (at 1.8V), which is unlike anything else in the market today.

SENtral gives designers the best of both worlds: it’s KitKat-compliant with a portfolio of best of breed algorithms for context- and location-awareness embedded on a tiny, ultra-low power sensor hub. This frees designers from integration worries, gives them the flexibility to choose their own sensors and conserves precious power. And best of all, SENtral-K costs about what a very stripped down Cortex M0 would, with no additional licensing fees for use of the embedded algorithms.

About SENtral 

In addition to inertial sensors such as gyros, accelerometers and magnetic sensors, SENtral-K can manage up to six sensor inputs, including:

  • gyroscope
  • accelerometer
  • magnetic sensor
  • pressure sensor
  • heart rate (PPG)
  • humidity

Price and Availability

SENtral-K will be available in Q4 2014. For more information, please visit: www.pnicorp.com/products/sentral-k or contact: sales@pnicorp.com.

About PNI Sensor

PNI Sensor Corporation is the leader in the exacting science of producing pinpoint location, heading and orientation technology for the consumer, military and scientific communities. Building on decades of patented sensor and algorithm development, PNI offers highly accurate geomagnetic sensors and sensor fusion technology. Its products are used in consumer electronics, including the Wii U Game Pad, and robotics, surveying, navigation and automotive applications across the globe. To learn more, please visit www.pnicorp.com.

PNI Sensor and the PNI Sensor logo are registered trademarks, and the SENtral is a trademark, of PNI Sensor Corporation. All other product and company names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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