For those of you in the robotics community interested in the progress in the micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) world, Analog Devices has managed to fit 3 accelerometers and 3 gyros into one package, and they have started sampling the latest version. This is a significant improvement to the design and development of many autonomous robots. About the only thing keeping it from being perfect, for my application, is that it is missing a magnetometer and maybe an altimeter. They did however provide an auxiliary 12bit ADC that could be used for those sensors.
This inertial sensor provides analog to digital conversion at 14 bit resolution via SPI Bus at up to 819.2 Samples per second. Keep in mind that this is preliminary information and subject to change and many of the specific parameters are still to be determined.
There are two critical advantages to this sensor; the first is the small size of the sensor which is 23mm on a side and that it connects via a flex connector so you do not have to deal with trying to solder BGAs, secondly by integrating the MEMS devices in the same clean room facility and possibly on the same silicon wafer they should be able to reduce the angular misalignment and non-orthogonality between the axes.
Even better though is that an older model is already available with similar specifications. However according to our contact at Analog Devices, the new sensor has several significant improvements. The new sensor improves the bias stability of the gyros by more then 50% and increases the maximum saturation of the accelerometers to 18g, up from earlier 1.7g and 10g versions. Faster data transfer rates using SPI burst mode and external sync options are also available.