Thursday, February 23, 2012

ST shows unique metal alloys improving cameraphone pictures and other innovative solutions

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: STMicroelectronics will showcase its rich offer and latest innovations at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 27-Mar. 1, 2012 at its booth (Hall 7, 7C18).

Over the years, ST has applied its wide portfolio of technologies to the mobile communications market and, this year at MWC, ST is presenting further advances and ground-breaking solutions in key new applications.

Having triggered and mastered the revolution that put motion-sensing at the heart of many new mobile applications now on show, ST's motion sensors are moving to become the enabling technology for the next wave of enhanced mobile functionality: Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Location-Based Services (LBS).

During MWC, ST will reveal a new approach to deliver OIS to mobile phones. OIS uses feedback from motion sensors embedded in the mobile device to control the mechanical actuator that compensates for slight movements of the user's hand, resulting in sharper images even in low-light conditions.

The new technology uses actuators made of Shape Memory Alloys (SMA) that offer the unique ability to contract upon heating. Small size and low power requirements allow SMA "smart materials" to be used in actuators that are dramatically more compact, lighter, more powerful and quiet that will replace alternative technologies based on Voice-Coil Motors and piezoelectric elements that cannot meet the size constraints of mobile phones.

Location-Based Services are expected to be the next "killer" application but a major challenge in developing these services has been accurately locating the mobile device in urban canyons and indoor environments, where the signals from the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) satellites are blocked. ST will demonstrate a solution that fuses data from motion sensors with other data from map databases and Wi-Fi access points to dramatically improve the accuracy of the position calculation by an order of magnitude, a key enabler for future location-based-service applications. The solution includes an iNEMO Inertial Measurement Unit that offers 10 degrees of freedom, combining 3-axis sensing of linear, angular and magnetic motion with temperature and barometer/altitude readings.

Other demonstrations based on motion sensing include an inertial pointer for innovative man-machine interfaces and the recently announced iNEMO Body Motion Reconstruction technology that promises to improve outcomes in clinical and sports medicine applications, as well as enhancing augmented-reality and gaming applications.

Beyond these motion-sensing breakthroughs, ST's ability to augment the wireless modem with a host of sensing, power management, multimedia, protection and security functions have played a key role in making the "mobile" experience more complete and the interaction with the world more productive. This will be highlighted in a number of other demos including a microphone array with beam forming, headphones with active noise cancellation, secure transactions via Near-Field Communications (NFC) and protection and coupling solutions.

In addition, the latest smart-phone ready version of the Pico Projector that ST and bTendo Ltd. are jointly developing will be demonstrated. Based on bTendo's innovative Scanning Laser Projection engine technology and ST's leading MEMS (Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems) expertise, video processing know-how and semiconductor process technology, the Pico Projector can be integrated into a smartphone or other portable device to allow users to easily share their images and videos with others at any time by simply projecting them onto any surface. Smartphones containing this technology could start appearing in the marketplace in 2013.

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