MEMS motion sensors’ continuing evolution in commercial markets

By Jalinous (Jay) Esfandyari, STMicroelectronics
In association with MEMS Industry Group (MIG)

Contributed by ElectroIQ

October 3, 2011 — In 2006, the global market for micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) devices, which at that time included automobile airbag systems, display systems and inkjet cartridges, totaled $5.9 billion. That initial success may have been driven by the use of air-bag accelerometers in the automotive market, but the true commercialization of MEMS motion sensors began in 2005-2006 with consumer electronics and mobile phones. In fact, because of increased adoption and new applications in consumer and mobile applications, Yole Développement is now projecting double-digit annual growth in MEMS from the $8.7 billion reported in 2010, to $19.6 billion projected in 2016.

In the consumer and mobile markets, MEMS accelerometers and gyroscopes today enable cost-effective innovation, creation, and success of various motion-activated or motion-aware devices. Sensors add an intuitive man/machine interface to mobile phones and music/video players, PDAs, tablets and game controllers, by linking movements of the user’s wrist, arm, and hand to applications, navigation within and between pages, the movement of characters in a game, and much more. Almost every consumer device or cell phone today has a motion sensor embedded inside.

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