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Hillcrest Labs launches high-precision sensor hub for robots with advanced navigation systems

Hillcrest Labs is launching a new high-precision sensor hub to advance navigation systems in what it describes as “cost-critical consumer robots”.

The company says the new FSP200 sensor hub delivers “superior heading accuracy and choice in sensor selection”.

Hillcrest Labs says the new component joins its portfolio of “high performance, high quality, low cost solutions for robot navigation applications”. 

Hillcrest Labs, a subsidiary of InterDigital, says the FSP200 is a high-performance and low-power sensor hub microcontroller unit, or MCU, that delivers superior planar heading and 6-axis IMU – or inertial measurement unit – performance.

The company says the device is specifically designed with high volume, cost conscious, consumer robotics applications in mind.


Hillcrest says the FSP200 is “ideal as an integral component to SLAM [simultaneous localization and mapping] navigation systems or for use as the primary navigation solution for ‘intelligent walk’ systems”.

The FSP200 combines Hillcrest Labs’ high-performance, proprietary MotionEngine sensor processing software into a low-power 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 MCU.

The proprietary MotionEngine software provides a high performance, high quality and low-cost solution optimized for autonomous and semi-autonomous terrestrial robots such as cleaners, mowers and service robots.

When paired with an external 6-axis inertial sensor – accelerometer plus gyroscope – the FSP200 delivers the performance and features required for today’s robots, including:

Tilt Independent Heading: Allows for proper heading output even when the driving surface is uneven, enabling rapid adjustment to obstacles or changes in flooring types;

Bump Detection: Calibrated accelerometer output provides data to support bump detection algorithm without having to use a separate sensor;

Inclination Detection: Provides full 3DOF robot orientation allowing detection of surface and device issues that could cause the robot to become stuck or damaged;

Dynamic Calibration: Proprietary algorithms monitor changes in sensor performance and temperature during live operation to deliver the highest performance; and

Sensor Independence: Several low-cost MEMS sensors from top sensor vendors are qualified for use with the FSP200 and have drivers pre-integrated.

The FSP200 fits simply into any design and uses common industry interfaces for chip connectivity. It can be placed directly on the robot’s main circuit board or designed into a separate module, providing manufacturers with ultimate flexibility.

Hillcrest says the “turn-key component” benefits developers and integrators through faster time-to-market, reductions in development time, reduced bill of materials cost, and “the highest precision and quality”.

Chad Lucien, senior vice president, sales and marketing, Hillcrest Labs, says: “We’re thrilled to expand our portfolio of products for robotics to include this consistent, high-performance product geared specifically for cost critical robots.

“The FSP200 serves a key part of our product family, underscoring our mission to advance the consumer robotics market by continually delivering superior solutions to the market.”

The FSP200 is available for immediate sampling along with documentation and evaluation tools, and Hillcrest Labs will begin taking production orders in first quarter 2018.

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