Alps' Geomagnetic Sensor Employed for G-Shock Watch

Mar 26, 2013
Hideyoshi Kume, Nikkei Electronics
Casio Computer's "G-Shock Sky Cockpit Series GW-A1100" comes with Alps Electric's new geomagnetic sensor
Casio Computer's "G-Shock Sky Cockpit Series GW-A1100" comes with Alps Electric's new geomagnetic sensor
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]
The sensor measures 1.6 x 1.6 x 0.7mm and comes in an LGA package.
The sensor measures 1.6 x 1.6 x 0.7mm and comes in an LGA package.
[ If it clicks, the expanded picture will open ]

Alps Electric Co Ltd developed a geomagnetic sensor that has a 60% smaller size and 100% longer measurement range than the company's existing geomagnetic sensor product.

The sensor was employed for the "G-Shock Sky Cockpit Series GW-A1100," a wristwatch that Casio Computer Co Ltd will release in June 2013.

Alps announced the "HSCDTD004A" geomagnetic sensor in May 2011. And the new sensor is sold as a product in the "HSCD" series.

The sensor will be used not only for the GW-A1100 but also for Casio's Protrek rugged wristwatch that will be launched in June 2013. It will be used for realizing an advanced compass function.

The measurement range of the new geomagnetic sensor is ±2.4mT for each of the x, y and z axes while that of the existing product is ±1.2mT. Its output resolution is 0.15μT.

"We realized a low noise level and a high resolution with an ASIC developed at our Sendai R&D Center," Alps said.

The dimensions of the HSCDTD004A are 1.6 x 1.6 x 0.7mm, which are much smaller than those of the existing product (2.5 x 2.5 x 0.7mm). As its package, Alps employed the LGA, which has a high physical strength. The operating temperature range and power supply voltage of the sensor are -40 to +85°C and 1.8-3.6V, respectively.

The new sensor is expected to be used for the electric compasses of smartphones, tablet computers, etc. The number of digital cameras having a GPS function is recently increasing, and some of them come with an electric compass. With an electric compass, it becomes possible to detect and record the orientation of a camera taking a picture.

In addition, Alps expects that the sensor will be employed for the motion controllers of game consoles and head-mounted displays (HMDs).