STMicroelectronics and Game Technologies S.A. have revealed details of the ST technologies that power DICE+, a device that allows people to enjoy digital versions of their favorite board games while allowing them to continue to experience the pleasure and excitement of rolling the dice.
DICE+ is a smart electronic dice that uses motion-sensing, data-processing, and power-management technologies from STMicroelectronics. Players hold DICE+ in their hands, shake it and roll it, just as they would with traditional dice. The result is displayed on the dice itself for everyone to see. Simultaneously, it is also communicated wirelessly to the mobile device that is hosting the game, eliminating the need to key in the result of the throw.
Cheating is not possible; holding the device in a particular position and then rolling it gently to achieve a desired result will not work because this smart dice knows when it has been properly rolled. Its motion sensors and an embedded computing brain can calculate how many times it has tumbled to decide if this was a fair throw. It doesn’t have an on/off switch, either: leave it alone and it will hibernate; move it and it will spring back into life.
All this is possible because DICE+ combines three key technologies: tiny sensors that can detect and measure movement and orientation, microcomputers that are thousands of times more powerful than those that powered the first space explorations, and sophisticated chips that monitor and control the flow of electrical power inside the dice. All of these technologies are supplied by ST.
ST is supplying four key devices in DICE+: a combined 6-axis accelerometer/ magnetometer to detect and measure movement and orientation, an ultra-low-power STM32 microcontroller for the computing brain, a chip that monitors and controls the charging of the integral Li-ion battery, and an ultra-low-current linear voltage regulator that supplies the correct operating voltage to all the other devices.