News Item

One chip - 7 nav devices

A timing & inertial measurement unit contains everything needed to navigate should GPS become unavailable.

US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) researchers at the University of Michigan report significant progress with a timing & inertial measurement unit (TIMU) that contains everything needed to aid navigation during a GPS outage.

The single-chip TIMU prototype contains a 6-axis IMU (3 gyroscopes and 3 accelerometers) and integrates them with a master clock to form a single miniature system. The chip integrates devices (clocks, gyroscopes and accelerometers), materials and designs from DARPA’s 'Micro-Technology for Positioning, Navigation and Timing' (Micro-PNT) programme.

The design uses a new fabrication processes in high-quality materials for multi-layered, packaged inertial sensors and the timing unit - all in a miniscule 10 cubic mm package. Each of the 6 micro-fabricated layers of the TIMU has a different function and is 50 microns thick.

The DARPA Programme Manager explains that both the structural layer of the sensors and the integrated package are made of silica - of which the hardness and high-performance material properties make it the material of choice for integrating the devices into a miniature package.

The resulting TIMU is claimed to be small and robust enough for applications - when GPS becomes unavailable - such as personnel tracking, handheld navigation, small diameter munitions and small airborne platforms.

Details from DARPA below . .

  • 15 April 2013
  • R and D

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