New ST Driver Architecture Simplifies MEMS Communication with Linux Systems

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, the world’s top MEMS manufacturer, and the leading supplier of MEMS sensors for consumer and portable applications1, has simplified the use of MEMS in a wider range of applications by releasing ready-to-use software drivers for communication with Linux systems.

ST’s new driver architecture is supported in the latest revision of Linux Kernel (from revision 3.9), which is available immediately: the drivers make ST’s MEMS devices more easily accessible to developers using Linux open-source software to build consumer, industrial, scientific and healthcare applications with precision movement and position sensing in multiple axes for uses such as remote monitoring, test and measurement, robotic control, machine vision and surveillance.

The new ST driver architecture ensures robustness, maximizes sensor performance, and allows modularity and fast prototyping. Driver access is managed through a standard IIO (Industrial-IO) interface and no additional software is required to interface all the ST Motion MEMS products due to the embedded IIO driver already available into the Linux Kernel.

“The ST IIO driver modules also provide the flexibility to exchange all the ST MEMS devices without any changes at the driver level,” said Paolo Bendiscioli, Motion MEMS Application Manager at STMicroelectronics. “This solution allows faster design upgrades and helps our customers improve time to market for their new products.”

The new driver architecture works with the full ST MEMS family including accelerometers, gyroscopes, iNEMO inertial modules, e-compasses and magnetometers, thereby enabling quick and easy connection of any sensor with minimal software overhead. It allows the system to recognize devices, access data, support interrupts and perform polling data acquisitions.

MEMS sensors are widely used in consumer products such as smartphones, tablets and gaming devices for features like indoor navigation, display orientation and gesture recognition. ST has over 800 MEMS-related patents and patent applications worldwide and is the world’s top MEMS manufacturer, with cumulative shipments of more than three billion MEMS devices and production capacity of 4 million devices a day.

Key features of ST’s MEMS Linux Industrial IO driver library:

  • Optimized to support all ST MEMS device functionality
  • Code overhead reduction
  • SPI and I2C bus interoperability
  • FIFO embedded at driver level

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