MEMS Gyros Poised to Redefine the Smartphone

EETimes writer R. Colin Johnson has posted an excellent article on MEMS manufacturer InvenSense’s foray into the smartphone market. (For more on MEMS gyros taking off, see Colin’s article, “Five Apps That Will Make 2010 the Year of the Gyroscope” in Smarter Technology.)

The article notes:

  • Estimated at $115 billion, the smartphone market is very lucrative for MEMS makers like InvenSense.
  • InvenSense CEO Steven Nasiri was quoted as estimating “that in less than two years, every phone will be a smartphone with a camera, WiFi, Bluetooth and email.”
  • InvenSense’s new 3-axis gyro integrates with an accelerometer to provide new user interface functionality for the apps that smartphone users demand, such as gaming and music applications.

It will be interesting to see if Apple’s rumored tablet computer (to be announced today at a special event in San Francisco) will incorporate any gyros into its user interface. (Isn’t a tablet computer essentially a bigger smartphone?)

Read Colin’s full article here and check out his blog on next generation electronics–NextGenLog–as well.

Sensors, sensors everywhere: MEMS and the “Internet of Things”

Robert MacManus posted an interesting piece on ReadWriteWeb recently (see 2010 Trend: Sensors & Mobile Phones) in their series on the “Internet of Things”–where devices are connected to the Internet to provide us with more data and functionality. Although he doesn’t call it MEMS by name, he makes the point that cell phones are becoming much more than communications devices; cell phones and mobile devices are essentially pocket-sized platforms for sensors. And, yes, many of these sensors are MEMS devices! Continue reading

MEMS at CES 2010: Pico projectors, low-power displays, hands-free user interface & more

There have been some really exciting announcements for the MEMS community coming out of CES 2010. Here are four that stuck out:

  • Microvision SHOWWXMicrovision is generating a lot of buzz with its SHOWWX™ Laser Pico Projector. Based on proprietary MEMS single scanning mirror technology, Microvision’s pico projector can turn a mobile device into a platform for projecting high-quality video.  And the best part is that the SHOWWX™ will be commercially available very soon in the US. More info is available on Microvision’s Displayground blog.
  • New accelerometers from STMicroelectronics – MEMS device maker STMicroelectronics is exhibiting its next generation of accelerometers. The new accelerometers’ main advantages include a smaller footprint, lower power consumption, and a host of feature enhancements.
  • Qualcomm’s mirasol® e-reader prototypeQualcomm MEMS Technologies (QMT) is demoing a prototype of an e-reader using its mirasol® display technology. What separates mirasol® from other display technologies is its use of available ambient light instead of standard backlighting. Bonus points to QMT for not only creating a highly-readable color display, but making it use less power too.
  • The hands-free user interfaceZyxio, which calls itself a human media interaction company, is touting its sensawaft™ technology that uses a MEMS sensor to translate human breaths into computer instructions. The company also held a “Be a Mind Blower” competition for people to imagine products incorporating sensawaft™ technology. The winners then get to work with Zyxio to develop their ideas into real products.
    Continue reading

Will 2010 be the year of the MEMS gyroscope?

Tech writer R. Colin Johnson thinks so and has laid out 5 apps that could push gyros into the limelight. Colin has been attending MEMS Executive Congress for a couple of years now, so it’s no surprise that some of the really cool MEMS apps discussed there have made it onto his list.

“Gyroscopes have already proved themselves in the inertial guidance systems for aircraft, ships, spacecraft and ballistic missiles, but their use in consumer devices in 2010 will make gyroscopes a part of the common vernacular.”

See the full list and the rest of Colin’s article here: http://www.smartertechnology.com/c/a/Technology-For-Change/Five-Apps-That-Will-Make-2010-the-Year-of-the-Gyroscope/

Colin also frequently writes about MEMS on NextGenLog, his blog about next generation electronics and technologies.

So what do you think, MEMSbloggers? What will 2010 have in store for MEMS?