Thursday, March 03, 2011

MEMS-Based Joystick for Small Electronic Devices

Knowles Acoustic has introduced a joystick based on micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) technology, suitable for mobile applications such as gaming. The new digital output navigation product is claimed to combine the real analogue joystick feel for an excellent navigation and gaming experience with the general benefits of MEMS technology in terms of general robustness, temperature stability, a low-profile miniature package and uA operation.

According to the company, manufacturers of mobile devices are facing challenges with power consumption, de-bounce issues, reliability and the end-user experience of the navigation devices they are using. Knowles's MEMS-based joystick gives an analogue stick feel and has 360deg variable-speed scrolling and navigation, which enhances the user experience, especially in gaming. The joystick can be equipped with Z-select in order to increase the user interaction capability.

It available with 1mm travel and 4-bit resolution. In addition, the device is fully integrated, meaning that no additional components are required to interact with it using the I2C interface. Its miniature 9.8 x 9.8 x 1.65mm package makes it suitable for space-constrained electronic devices, enabling designers to solve the dual engineering challenges of improving performance while adding features within increasingly smaller, thinner and tighter design spaces.

The device provides low current consumption of 40uA during Active Mode and 3uA during Sleep Mode. In terms of battery time drain, this is a reduction by a factor of 25 compared with optical joysticks and 200 compared with hall-effect sensors, making it suitable for battery-driven devices. The joystick is rated to one million cycles with excellent protection against moisture, temperature and particle ingress, according to the company.

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