Epson Toyocom Corporation has produced what it claims is the world’s smallest 6-axis motion sensor. The use of motion sensors is growing dramatically, with the components found in all sorts of devices including cell phones, digital cameras, and of course game controllers such as the Nintendo Wii Remote or the Sony PlayStation Move. Epson Toyocom's AH-6100LR combines two different sensors in a single small package, incorporating both a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyro-sensor.

The sensor is a QMEMS device, meaning it is a quartz crystal based MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems). Quartz crystals are known for their excellent frequency stability and precision, and Epson Toyocom says these characteristics give its sensors their accuracy and sensitivity.

Epson Toyocom also manufactures a line of highly accurate gyro-sensors that are used in applications such as camera shake correction (image stabilization) and navigation systems. The AH-6100LR incorporates this technology for high-integrity motion tracing and motion tracking use. Tracking a hand, person, or other object requires a sensor with a wide dynamic range of control to detect a wide range of motion at both low and high speeds. Epson Toyocom says the AH-6100LR’s wide dynamic range of 81 to 83dB (200Hz output bandwidth) enables highly precise control through accurate tracing, and helps improve motion recognition.

With motion sensors showing up in everything from the Chumby to the iPhone, the market for these devices is definitely growing, and the demand for improved capabilities is increasing as well. Whereas the Wii controller contains a 3-axis accelerometer (the ADXL330 from Analog Devices), the new PlayStation Move motion controller includes also includes a 3-axis accelerometer plus a 3-axis gyroscope as well as a terrestrial magnetic field sensor (compass).

The AH-6100LR 6-axis sensor measures just 0.4 x 0.3 x 0.15in. (10 x 8 x 3.8mm), uses only 6.1mA of power, and is shock resistant to 5000g. Pricing information is not yet available. Samples are available now, with commercial production scheduled for May 2010.

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