Machine Design

An inertial sensor for robots

A MEMS inertial measurement unit (IMU) is claimed to handle defense, aerospace, and other high-end applications at about one-tenth the cost of existing devices.

The ADIS16355 inertial sensor from Analog Devices Inc., Norwood, Mass., compensates for GPS signal loss that arises in moving trucks and other vehicles. Besides aiding navigation, the sensor can help stabilize an aerial camera or prosthetic limb, or control a robotic arm in factory automation.

The IMU combines three axes of angular rate sensing and three axes of acceleration sensing (6 dof). It can self calibrate and sensor processing, and has an in-run bias stability of 0.015˚/sec. Both the ADIS16355 and the cheaper and less-sensitive ADIS16350 come in a 23-mm-cube. Both chips include a programmable SPI (serial peripheral interface) port for access to programming features such as filtering, sample-rate, power-management, self-test, and sensor condition status and alarms. The devices are fully in-system tunable for simple debugging.

Many motion sensors ship without calibration, so performance can be sensitive to changes in voltage, temperature, vibration, and the effects of other sensors in the IMU, claims the company. Performing all critical IMU calibration and compensation in-house can cut system development time by up to 12 months, and save users hundreds of thousands of dollars in test-equipment costs.

The low-price version costs $275/each in 1,000-unit quantities. The ADIS16355 will be in production in September and will go for $359/each in 1,000-unit quantities.

Analog Devices Inc.,

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