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.

These four examples highlight how MEMS increases the functionality, energy efficiency and intelligence of consumer appliances.  And beyond just the consumer sphere there are many other important uses for these technologies. For instance, as Zyxio notes on its website, breath-powered user interface technology could be a boon to anyone with a disability that prevents the normal use of one’s hands.

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see if these developments translate into an all-in-one e-reader with projection capabilities that also lets me turn the page just by breathing.  Maybe “don’t hold your breath” would be the appropriate response. :)

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