iSentek Magnetometer Raises Navigation Capability of Smartphones 

E-Compass magnetometers from iSentek expand navigation sensitivity for smartphones 

Magnetic sensor provider iSentek has developed a magnetometer with new levels of sensitivity for boosting the capability of smartphone navigation. The latest in its e-compass series, the device boasts an expansive dynamic range of up to 10 milliteslas (mT), eclipsing the range of legacy devices. 

According to Max Lai, CEO, the new IST8320 overcomes the deficiencies of older-generation e-compass magnetometers that have hindered the full potential of smartphone navigation. These legacy devices, while remarkable, were fraught with limitations, he says. 

Chief among these drawbacks, explains Lai, was their limited sensitivity, typically maxing out at a range of 3–5 mT. This restriction significantly hampered their ability to provide precise orientation data, especially in environments with strong magnetic fields. The consequences were unreliable navigation apps and augmented-reality experiences. 

In addition, magnetometers previously often succumbed to magnetic interference from nearby electronic components for smartphones, such as magnetic pens, wireless charging rings, speakers and voice coil motors. This interference caused compass readings to skew, leaving users disoriented and manufacturers grappling with the challenge of designing layouts that could mitigate the issue. 

Magnetic scan images illustrate the charging ring’s impact on the smartphone magnetic field. (iSentek)

Says Lai, however, the new magnetometer can detect magnetic fields up to 10 mT while typical range is 7 mT. At the core of the device’s capability is its state-of-the-art Hall sensor technology which can deliver accuracy even in the presence of strong magnetic fields and electronic interference. This means that smartphone users can now enjoy precise and reliable compass data, opening up fresh possibilities for AR gaming, location-based services and navigation applications. 

iSentek is a fabless IC design house focused on magnetic sensing including Hall-effect, AMR and TMR technologie Headquarters are in Xizhi, New Taipei City, Taiwan. See