PNI Low-Power SENtral-A2 Fusion Sensor Coprocessor Announced For Wearables, Smartphones

PNI Sensor Corp announced its newest sensor fusion product family, the SENtral-A2, which is an ultra-low-power coprocessor that comes with the most expansive algorithm feature set and development framework.

The new product should save developers time and resources by freeing them from the creation of advanced algorithms for the sensors they use in wearables and smartphones.

“The real 'magic' in wearables and smartphones stems not only from their embedded sensors but from the sensor fusion algorithms that intelligently manage the data output from those sensors to create meaningful user experiences. The challenge for product designers is to make such experiences possible without having to build sensor fusion algorithms from scratch. It's simply too time-consuming," said Becky Oh, president and CEO, PNI Sensor Corp.

She also added that PNI Sensor's SENtral-A2 coprocessor comes embedded with a context framework that learns about what type of activity the device user is performing. For instance, developers who use the SENtral-A2 coprocessor can build applications that know when the users are doing pushups and could motivate them to do more.

The SENtral-A2 chip measures only 1.7 x 1.7 mm and is pin-compatible with the earlier versions of SENtral. It uses very little power, only ~200 µAmps average current consumption at 1.8V when running 140,000 floating point operations per second. The new chip also has more memory on board, which allows designs to add more algorithms and batch more data.

The algorithms contained in the new SENtral-A2 include:

9-axis Sensor FusionGame Rotation VectorGeomagnetic Rotation VectorGlance GestureGravityLinear AccelerationPick Up GestureSignificant MotionStep CounterStep DetectorTilt DetectorWake GestureContext: Walk, Jog, Run, StillContext: Bike, VehicleContext: TiltingShake GestureTurnover Gesture

There are also some optional algorithms that developers can use for activity monitoring (push-up, sit-up, heart rate monitoring), device orientation and motion (how the device is held), as well as environmental algorithms (touch, proximity, light).

SENtral-A2 already supports Google's Compatibility Test Suite, which means Android apps can take advantage of its capabilities. The chip will start sampling in December 2015 from PNI Sensor.


Lucian Armasu joined Tom’s Hardware in early 2014. He writes news stories on mobile, chipsets, security, privacy, and anything else that might be of interest to him from the technology world. Outside of Tom’s Hardware, he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.