One accelerometer interrupt pin for both wakeup and non-motion detection

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1 One accelerometer interrupt pin for both wakeup and non-motion detection Jay Esfandyari, Fabio Pasolini - June 10, 2013 One accelerometer interrupt pin for both wakeup and non-motion detection Handheld devices including smartphones and Tablet PCs have touch screens and many buttons for different functions. In order to save battery power, if the screen is not touched or the button is not pressed for a certain amount of time regardless of the motion, the screen will be switched off. If users want to use the device again, they have to press a button to turn on the screen. A digital MEMS accelerometer usually has one or two interrupt output pins available that can be interfaced with the I/O pins of an external microprocessor. The accelerometer can be configured to monitor acceleration or motion in the background while the microprocessor could perform other tasks or simply stay in low power sleep mode. When an interrupt is detected by the accelerometer, the microprocessor can then wake up to check whether the interrupt needs to be addressed. This paper describes the method of using one accelerometer interrupt pin for both wakeup and nonmotion detection to automatically switch on and off the screen. The microprocessor only needs to monitor the edge transition of the accelerometer interrupt output pin without the need for reading the interrupt source register. The sample code for accelerometer configurations is included. 1. Introduction MEMS accelerometer can output different kinds of interrupt signals such as data ready, freefall, portrait/landscape, single-click/double-click and impact detection, etc. [1] Some accelerometers have built-in wakeup and motionless detection feature to automatically switch between lower output data rate (ODR) at low power mode and higher ODR at normal mode according to the motions. But this feature only saves the power consumption of the accelerometer itself. Some microprocessors have two or more GPIO pins and users can implement two accelerometer interrupt output pins for wakeup and non-motion detection at the same time. However, in some other cases microprocessors have only one GPIO pin available for the interrupt but users would like

2 to have both functions from one interrupt pin. In the following chapters, the method of using a high pass filter (HPF) and freefall AND logic scheme to detect wakeup motion and motionless conditions at one interrupt output pin is described. The microprocessor doesn t need to get involved. When the microprocessor sees the accelerometer interrupt signal rising edge, it means that the non-motion condition of the device has been confirmed. When it sees the falling edge of the accelerometer interrupt signal, then it means the device is in motion. 2. Hardware connection Figure 1 shows the typical hardware connection between a host processor or a microcontroller and the accelerometer. The host processor only needs to configure the accelerometer one time when powered up through I2C or SPI interface in the initialization routine. Then, the accelerometer will monitor the motion in the background continuously at very low power consumption. Figure 1: Hardware connection between host processor and accelerometer The INT1 output pin of the accelerometer is in push-pull and active high configuration by default. Users can change the configuration to open-drain or active-low for their applications. The voltage level of the INT1 pin is 0.9 * Vdd_IO minimum when high and 0.1 * Vdd_IO maximum when low. The accelerometer Vdd_IO is flexible to match the host processor digital IO voltage level Vcc_IO. If the host processor has only one power supply, then the accelerometer Vdd and Vdd_IO can be tied together to this power supply directly. When the handheld device has entered the rest condition from motion longer than a certain amount

3 of time, the accelerometer will send an interrupt signal from low to high rising edge on INT1 pin. The host processor can then shut down other components and go to sleep mode to save power. Whenever there is a motion, the accelerometer will send an interrupt signal from high to low falling edge. Then, the host processor can wake up and turn on other components for normal operation. If the handheld device remains in motion at normal operation mode, then accelerometer interrupt signal on INT1 pin keeps low. When the device is always at rest at any tilted position, then the accelerometer interrupt signal remains high all the time. Therefore, the host processor can periodically read the level of the accelerometer INT1 pin to double check if the handheld device is at rest or in motion. 3. Sample code 3. Sample code Example based on LIS3DH digital accelerometer from STMicroelectronics [2]. // Initialize accelerometer in the host processor. It only needs to be executed one time after power up in initialization routine.

4 INT1_CFG configuration is the same as freefall event detection. The differences are (1) Freefall interrupt doesn t need to enable the HPF; (2) Freefall duration is in milliseconds range. 5 seconds duration means the freefall distance is about meters which rarely happens to a handheld device. The above sample code can be illustrated as shown in Figure 2. Figure 2: Accelerometer INT1 logic When the handheld device is at rest at any tilted position for longer than 5 seconds, accelerometer INT1 pin will go high from low and stay high as long as the device is still at rest, because after HPF, X/Y/Z axes acceleration are all within ±125mg THS simultaneously. The freefall of the handheld device will not make the INT1 pin go high from low because the event of X/Y/Z axes acceleration within ±125mg THS simultaneously doesn t last longer than 5 seconds. Whenever any axis X or Y or Z acceleration goes beyond ±125mg THS due to the motion, the INT1 pin will go low from high and stay low as long as the device is still in motion. If the device is at rest for the time shorter than 5 seconds duration and the motion happens again, then the INT1 pin will still stay low and the 5 seconds duration will start counting down from 50LSBs to 0LSB at 10Hz ODR once the device is at rest again. 4. Conclusions

5 Using the built-in HPF and freefall event detection scheme, the accelerometer is able to deliver robust interrupt signal for both wakeup and motionless to the microprocessor from its one interrupt pin. The accelerometer works in the background and doesn t need the microprocessor to get involved. Users are free to configure the accelerometer threshold and duration to meet their applications. In terms of power saving, this solution is more effective than using the handheld device touch screen and button press and microprocessor timer to switch off the screen. 5. References 1. STMicroelectronics, Inc. J. Esfandyari et al, Applying the interrupt features of a MEMS accelerometer, EETimes, December, STMicroelectronics, Inc. AN3308: LIS3DH: MEMS digital output motion sensor ultra low-power high 3-axis nano accelerometer performance Paste this link into your browser: pdf?s_searchtype=keyword

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