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MEMS accelerometers help precision archers hit their targets

Analog Devices' ADXL346 MEMS accelerometer is integrated into the arrow tip of Full Flight Technology's Velocitip Ballistic System to measure arrow flight and target-impact data with precision. [Image: Analog Devices]





Your very best shot could get way better if you are into archery. Analog Devices, a leader in semiconductors for high-performance signal processing applications, is providing its award-winning iMEMS technology to a first-of-its kind measurement system used in high-precision archery.

ADI's ADXL346 3-axis digital MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) accelerometer was selected by Full Flight Technology (Cambridge, MA) for use in the company's flagship Velocitip Ballistic System, which is the first ever to use an arrow-mounted device to provide detailed information about arrow speed, flight dynamics, and bow performance. Full Flight Technology is a leading innovator and developer of world-class technology for ballistic measurement.

"This is, without a doubt, the most sophisticated microelectronics technology ever applied to the field of archery," says Bob Donahoe, founder of Full Flight Technology. "ADI's ADXL346 accelerometer is an essential enabling technology for our Velocitip Ballistic System thanks to its ability to survive repeated high G shock, its small package, and the perfect combination of precision measurement, low power, rugged construction, and light weight."

Designed for archery equipment manufacturers, sportsmen, and competitive archers, the Velocitip Ballistic System includes a field point (arrow tip), battery pack, docking station, USB cable, and PC software. The system employs the ADXL346 to continuously measure arrow drag in flight to provide down-range performance data. The ability to measure arrow drag means that, unlike a ballistic chronograph, the system does not require down-range equipment to measure arrow performance at target impact. The archer simply threads the arrow tip to the arrow in a conventional manner and shoots at the target.

With today's modern archery equipment, an arrow experiences over 1,000 G at launch and over 4,000 G at impact for each shot. Each tip must be able to survive for a minimum of 100 shots. During product development, the ADXL346 was housed in an arrow tip and successfully tested for 100 cycles at 5,000 G. The ADXL346 MEMS accelerometer is housed in a 9-mm-diameter aluminum arrow tip and weighs less than 6.5 g. Coin-cell batteries power the arrow tip for a minimum of 100 shots. Providing high, 13-bit resolution measurement at up to ±16 G, the ADXL346 also features an integrated memory-management system with a 32-level FIFO (first-in, first-out) buffer to store ballistics data.

"The functionality combined with a simple user interface make the Velocitip System a great tool for anyone testing archery equipment performance," says Nick Meinert, engineering and technical support, Victory Archery, which designs and manufactures carbon-fiber arrows. "Because so much useful information is precisely recorded for each shot, we find that the Velocitip System enables us to more quickly and easily identify those factors most important to improving arrow design and down-range performance."

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Analog Devices ADXL346 MEMS accelerometer

Source: Analog Devices

Published February 2012

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