Bosch Announces First Ever Position Tracking Smart Sensor for Wearables

Bosch smart sensor
Image: Bosch

Bosch, the world leading multinational engineering and electronics company headquartered near Stuttgart, Germany, announced BHI160BP, the industry’s first Position Tracking Smart Sensor that utilizes integrated inertial sensors to improve GPS location tracking.

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This new member of Bosch Sensortec’s BHI160 family adds application-specific functionality for position tracking by providing a ready-to-use solution that can be quickly and easily integrated into a system without requiring an update to a new GNSS module.

By using BHI160BP with a GPS or GNSS module, users can perform position tracking with up to 80% saving in system power consumption compared with a typical GNSS-only solution, without compromising on accuracy.

An extended battery life and longer charging intervals makes it ideal for wearable applications such as smartwatches and fitness trackers and other mobile devices such as smartphones or hearables.

The BHI160BP tracks an individual’s position by intelligently applying an inertial sensor-based algorithm for Pedestrian Dead Reckoning (PDR). To maintain accuracy, it calculates the user’s relative location based on data collected from the inertial sensors and then re-calibrates itself every few minutes to obtain the absolute position provided by the GNSS/GPS module. This means that the GNSS/GPS module can be kept in sleep mode for most of the time, which drastically reduces a device’s power consumption and extends its operating time, said a press release.

Bosch smart sensor
Image: Bosch

“Pedestrian position tracking is a crucial application for mobile applications; unfortunately, GPS modules can rapidly drain a device’s battery capacity – especially when the battery is as small as in wearable devices,” says Dr. Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec. “Our new Position Tracking Smart Sensor solves this problem and enables users to navigate reliably while extending the operation of GPS tracking in their devices from several hours up to several days.”

The BHI160BP’s position tracking capability means that a device can maintain solid accuracy even when the GNSS signal is blocked or weak, e.g. near tall buildings or indoors. This ensures accurate pedestrian navigation at all times, even in shielded indoor areas such as subways.

As well as improving localization, the BHI160BP can also handle gesture recognition and 3D orientation, with 3D calculations performed by the sensor itself rather than by an application processor.

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Drawing only 1.3 mA in active operation mode, BHI160BP is the industry’s lowest-power solution that integrates the Fuser Core (MCU) and a 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU). Additionally, the Position Tracking Smart Sensor offers a variety of customized virtual sensors, such as a calibrated accelerometer, orientation and wake up gesture, within a single device.

The new BHI160BP comes in a compact 3 x 3 x 0.95 mm3 LGA-package and is pin-to-pin compatible with the BHI160.

Availability

The BHI160BP will be available via distribution in December 2018.