mCube, an innovator in MEMS motion sensor technology, today announced the industry’s first software-based gyroscope optimized for Android smartphones and tablets. By enabling “virtual” gyroscope functionality on all mobile devices, mCube’s iGyro™ MC7010 delivers immersive, 9DoF (9 degrees of freedom) motion gaming and augmented reality experiences to phone and tablet users, while cutting the power, cost and board space in half compared to hardware-based discrete solutions.
“iGyro is a direct result of mCube’s innovations in 3D monolithic motion sensors, combined with our advanced software algorithms,” said Ben Lee, president and CEO, mCube, Inc. “By incorporating gyro functionality in our latest high resolution combo sensor, including the smallest accelerometer in the world, all of our customers can now enable their users to play sophisticated 9DoF motion games, without the expense, power consumption and high cost of hardware based 9DoF components.”
Gyroscopes were originally developed for use in military, navigation and aviation applications. The functionality is now one of three sensing devices that come standard on higher end phones. While an accelerometer measures linear acceleration of a device, a gyroscope measures the rotation rate of a device, and a magnetometer measures the earth’s magnetic field, which, combined with gravity, determines the three dimensional orientation of the device. Without a gyroscope, mobile phone users need to drag their finger on the phone’s touch screen to move in a desired direction. iGyro enables users to move within a game simply by turning, tilting or panning the device.
While the functionality of a hardware gyroscope significantly enhances the user experience for gaming on mobile devices, the cost, power consumption and board space required has limited its applicability to only the most expensive mobile products. In fact, according to a MEMS Information report, the attach rate for gyroscopes in the entire China-designed phone market is only ten percent1.
mCube’s iGyro offers the best of all worlds – a solution that delivers 9DoF sensor functionality on all mobile devices, enabling users to play sophisticated motion games, with very low power consumption, low cost and a small footprint.
1 Motion Sensor Market Development of Chinese, April 7, 2014 on MEMS Information site (www.mems.ac.cn)
Technical Features of mCube iGyro
The new mCube iGyro MC7010, virtual rotation sensor is an enhancement to mCube’s standard electronic compass hardware package. The hardware in the mCube electronic compass package provides high-rate three-axis measurements of specific force/acceleration and magnetic fields. This supports the computation of rotation rates, creating a virtual nine degrees of freedom sensor, with significantly lower power consumption and cost than a sensor package incorporating a hardware gyro.
Additional technical features of mCube’s iGyro MC7010 include:
- High performance 9DoF orientation sensor with three-axis accelerometer, plus three-axis magnetic sensor
- Enables motion gaming and augmented reality applications on mobile devices
- Delivers ultimate gaming experience including first-person shooter, racing and pilot games
- Offloads optimal rotation/orientation processing from applications
- Drop-in replacement at the Android Application Programming Interface (API) level, providing three-axis rotation rates
- Uses instantaneously detected device orientation and rates of change from the accelerometer and magnetometer to generate smooth and responsive gyroscope output:
- No rotation rate bias
- Low noise output during slow and precise movements
- Responsive tracking during faster or larger movements
- Provides trace distortion corrective capability
- Runs on application processors already powering gaming and augmented reality applications
“The growing table market definitely needs a cost effective 9DoF solution,” said Joe Chen, GM of MediaTek Home Entertainment Business Unit. “According to an IDC report, with an available tablet market estimated to be 270.6 million units by 2014, and increasing to 386.3 million units by 2017, we believe that there is tremendous potential opportunity for mCube’s iGyro solution.”
“As the number of applications taking advantage of motion continues to explode, there is an increasing demand for 9DoF motion sensors across all mobile device segments,” said Kai Chen, General Partner at SK Telecom (China) Ventures. “mCube’s iGyro bridges the gap by bringing motion games capability to all types of phones and tablets.”