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January 11, 2013

CES 2013: Sunnyvale Chipmaker Invensense Plans to Bring GPS Indoors

Ever wished the GPS on your smartphone worked inside a subway station, shopping mall or in an underground parking lot?

Invensense, a reputable Sunnyvale-based provider of Motion Tracking devices for consumer electronics products, recently announced at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 its plans to launch high-end chips within a few years that will allow your Smartphone GPS to guide you through subway stations, up and down escalators in shopping malls, and even into cubicles surrounded by skyscrapers.

Chief executive officer at Invensense, Behrooz Abdi, told Reuters at the CES 2013 in Las Vegas that his engineers are working on high-performance electronic barometers, capable of detecting even a small change in altitude, as little as standing up from a chair.

 Abdi said the current GPS navigation system works accurately outdoors, especially when you’re in a large city like Las Vegas with tall buildings and wide streets which are not too close to each other.

However, if you are in a city like Manhattan, the GPS might not work properly, particularly when you’re inside a building.

“The products we're looking at will be accurate to the sub-meter. At some point in the future, it’ll be accurate enough to tell you whether you're sitting or standing," Abdi added.

InvenSense's gyroscopes and other high-end motion trackers are currently used in mobile gadgets including Samsung Galaxy S3, Google Nexus 7 Tablet and Amazon's Kindle Fire HD. The firm has so far not used it in the Apple iPhones and iPads.

The company’s chip sense completely changes the way a tablet is being manipulated or held. These sensors can also give the feel and wobbliness of a photographer's hand, and compensates for it to take better pictures.

In a recent press conference, Abdi denied to comment on the company’s relationship with Apple, but stated that he expects to deliver sensor chips to all giant phone makers this year. Projecting the growing demand from existing and future consumers, Invensense, listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2011, is tripling its production capacity at contract manufacturing partners GlobalFoundries and TSMC.

It is poised to benefit from a clear trend at 2013’s CES meeting, concluding today. The use of sensors to help home and mobile gadgets track their owners, and accurately figure out what they demand, is a concept Intel calls perpetual computing.

Edited by Braden Becker

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